How to Remove Pesticides from Your Fruits and Vegetables
Should you bother to remove pesticides, waxes and other chemicals from your fruits and vegetables? Is it worth the time and hassle?
Well, pesticide use has skyrocketed. Here are the stats for just one pesticide, glyphosate (which, by the way, the World Health Organization has classified as a probable carcinogen). From Environmental Sciences Europe:
“Since 1974 in the U.S., over 1.6 billion kilograms of glyphosate active ingredient have been applied, or 19 % of estimated global use of glyphosate (8.6 billion kilograms). Globally, glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since so-called ‘Roundup Ready,’ genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996. Two-thirds of the total volume of glyphosate applied in the U.S. from 1974 to 2014 has been sprayed in just the last 10 years.”
Just how big a deal is this? Here’s a simple article from Newsweek to give you another picture: http://www.newsweek.com/glyphosate-now-most-used-agricultural-chemical-ever-422419
And even if you buy organic, a certain amount of pesticide is allowed. Here’s a link to those allowed in the U.S. It’s a lot more than you’d think: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=9874504b6f1025eb0e6b67cadf9d3b40&rgn=div6&view=text&node=7:126.96.36.199.32.7&idno=7#se7.3.205_1601
Also, you should know that even if you do wash your produce, a certain amount of pesticide will remain within the fiber of the produce itself.
So, what can you do if you want to avoid eating and feeding your family pesticides? Well, even if you cannot wash all the pesticide off your produce, you certainly remove most of it. And that is a big win.
Here are 5 Simple Ways to Remove the Pesticides from Your Fruits and Vegetables:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
- You take 4 parts water and 1 part ACV (i.e. 4 cups water and 1 cup ACV). I use Bragg’s ACV. You can even use plain white vinegar.
- Put water and ACV into a very large bowl or your sink. If you use your sink, make sure you have plugged the drain first.
- Place your produce into the mixture for 20-30 minutes.
- Scrub anything that has wax on it. For example, apples are often waxed.
2. Use a Pesticide Wash
I have used multiple brands. Almost all of them are no better than rinsing with water alone. The one I do recommend is Dr. Mercola’s Fruit and Vegetable Wash. It’s fairly priced at $5.59 per bottle. Unfortunately, for those of you in the UK, Ireland, and Europe, it’s going to cost a bit more. But it works. And it even doubles as a surface cleaner.
3. Very High (11.5pH or higher) Alkaline Water
You need a machine for this, so it’s not be practical for everyone. But if you already have a machine or access to one, make sure you are taking advantage of this amazing tool. It removes more substances, more quickly than anything else I have used. If you have or can get access to it, try soaking some tomatoes in 11.5pH water (use a clear glass bowl) for about 10 minutes. You will actually see the oily sludge that comes off. It will open your eyes to what is on your produce that you cannot see.
4. Salt Water
You basically make high alkaline water using salt. So, if you don’t have a machine that makes alkaline water, you can just use a salt solution that is 1 part salt to 9 parts water. Some studies show salt water works as well or even better than vinegar washing.
5. Water Rinsing
It has been reported that rinsing in water alone will remove up to 80% of pesticide residue. So, if you absolutely cannot or will not do any of the other options, you can just rinse in plain water.
No matter what method you choose, just do something to remove as much pesticide residue as you can. I even do this when traveling- even in hotel bathroom sinks.
While we may not always be able to access the very best and cleanest food, we can always make the very the best of the situation we are in.
Do you have another way of removing pesticides from produce? Please let us know in the comments below.
Shining light on the journey, together.
 Environmental Sciences Europe Bridging Science and Regulation at the Regional and European Level201628:3 DOI: 10.1186/s12302-016-0070-0© Benbrook. 2016
Received: 11 October 2015 Accepted: 11 January 2016 Published: 2 February 2016