Are Apples Safe for Children?
By: Barbara J. Ross
The number one fruit eaten by children is our country is – the apple!!! Even for picky eaters it seems that this mainstay of the American diet is the one fruit that almost every child will eat. That begs the question – just how safe is the apple? We should also wonder – just how safe is the most popular fruit juice for children – apple juice?
I went out to seek information about the fruit that Johnny Appleseed turned intoAmerica’s most popular food. Consulting sources such as The President’s Cancer Panel, I researched the environmental hazard created when fruit is sprayed with pesticides. Well parents, this news requires action – now! Protect you children from contaminants. Research provides evidence that pesticide indeed has harmful effects:
- According to the Environmental Working Group of Washington, 92% of all non-organic apples contain 2 or more pesticides. Healthychild.com reports that this same group “called on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Carol Browner to immediately halt the use of one highly toxic insecticide that poses short-term risks to small children. The group said an emergency cancellation of the bug killer methyl parathion is needed because hundreds of thousands of preschoolers are exceeding government-established safety limits for the pesticide every day, mostly through consumption of apples and peaches.”
- The University of California-Berkeley participated in a study about the intelligence of children as tested for an IQ score. The research conducted included an excess of 400 children, using records before birth and through ages of 6 to 9. Berkeley’s findings were that children with the greatest exposure scored on an average 7 points lower on standardized IQ tests compared with children with the lowest pesticide exposures.
- A research article by S H Zahm for the National Institutes of Health reports that “Malignancies linked to pesticides in case reports or case-control studies include leukemia, neuroblastoma, Wilms’ tumor, soft-tissue sarcoma,Ewing’s sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cancers of the brain, colorectum, and testes.” Zahm continues with the suggestion “that children may be particularly sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of pesticides.”
One cannot ignore the phenomenal nutritional value that the apple gives to those who eat it, especially children since they seem to love apples so much. What can we do to minimize the effects of all these chemicals on our children? How can we make this beloved fruit safe for children?
The very first thing we should all do is write to government leaders and let them know about our concerns and even our anger. We should not and cannot accept the continued pesticide exposure to children through this inexpensive and readily available popular diet mainstay.
Families can certainly take extra steps to wash all fruit with soap and water. Never, never, serve your children this fruit without a good scrubbing.
Of course the very best solution is to buy organic. If a family can afford just one organic food, the evidence above suggests that it should be that popular American staple – the apple. Happy crunching!