foods covered in pesticides

23 Organic Foods Covered in Pesticides That You Can Easily Grow at Home

Why Eat An Organic Diet?

In recent years, the United States has increased pesticide use in its food supply. Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used annually, and there is evidence that suggests that the pesticide residues are affecting human health (and animal health). We recommend growing your own fruits and vegetables instead of purchasing from the store, as this is the only way to guarantee healthy food. This is because there are a number of pesticides, herbicides (weed killers), insecticides, and fungicides on store-bought produce (even organic foods).  Read this article to learn more about the health benefits of gardening. If growing your own produce is not an option, find a local CSA that does not use these toxic chemicals, or go to your local farmer’s market. Just make sure you ask the seller about their use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. The FDA tests samples of fruits and vegetables for pesticide residue levels (from commercial farms), and those results are reported every year, listed in parts per million or parts per billion ratios. 

What is parts per million (PPM)? 

PPM is one part out of 1 million parts, e.g., a residue of 1 ppm is equivalent to 1 µg (microgram) of residue in one gram of a food sample. A lot of pesticide salesmen will tell farmers that the PPM is one part out of 1 million parts, e.g., a residue of 1 ppm is equivalent to 1 µg (microgram) of residue in one gram of a food sample. A lot of chemical industry salesmen will tell farmers that the small amounts of pesticide levels are within the legal limits of the acceptable daily intake, and won’t increase Americans’ cancer risk. The amount of safe pesticide exposure depends on the chemical. Let’s look at drug administration as an example. Fentanyl pills come in 100 microgram tablets. For a 100lb person who doesn’t take narcotics, even this small amount can be lethal. Fiber, on the other hand, is recommended to consume 30 grams (30,000,000 micrograms) per day. Depending on the substance, it can vary greatly on how much is “safe” to consume. We have added links to the chemical residues below, which will link to a page about the chemical and long-term effects concerning the amounts consumed. You’ll be surprised to find that even low-level exposure to chemical pesticides has nervous system effects, birth defects, and other public health concerns. However, studies also show that eating an organic diet will reduce the amount of chemicals found and excreted by the body. Unfortunately, the limits for organic produce have increased over the years. Many organic farmers can now use the same amount of pesticides on both their organic crops as their traditional crops (but they will still charge more for their organic food, because of the cost associated with the organic certification). More links with new scientific research and risk assessments will be added to this page regularly.

Here is a list of easy to grow produce, and the amount of chemicals found on them by the EPA.

Links to the different pesticides applied during food production with conventional farming methods, will take you to the page that explains the long-term health effects with chronic exposure. As more food system research is done by the FDA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Institute of Health, links will be added and updated.

Fruit trees:

Fruit trees are an easy way to begin your own organic farm and lower your health risks due to high doses of toxic substances. You pretty much just plant it and forget it.  Most fruit trees produce edible fruit within a couple of years, but some can produce food crops the next year.  Dwarf trees (growing up to about 15 feet) and self-pollinating trees are available in many types, allowing folks with small yards to also enjoy the “fruits of their labor.” (Most fruit trees require at least 2 trees in the area to produce a crop of fruit, self-pollinating trees will produce a fruit crop with only one tree.) There are also small citrus trees available that can be grown in pots and moved indoors for the winter. Here is a nursery that sells a variety of fruit trees, based on your USDA zone. If you are not sure of your zone Click Here to be redirected to find out.

Apples: One medium apple is approximately 182 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
PYRIMETHANIL13.4M2439 mcg per medium apple
DIPHENYLAMINE2.59M471 mcg per medium apple
CARBARYL1.69M307 mcg per medium apple
THIABENDAZOLE1.26M218 mcg per medium apple
CAPTAN0.346M63 mcg per medium apple
FENPROPATHRIN0.237M43 mcg per medium apple
ACETAMIPRID0.133M24 mcg per medium apple
CARBENDAZIM (MBC)0.12M22 mcg per medium apple

Clementines: One clementine is approximately 74 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
IMAZALIL3.89M288 mcg per clementine
THIABENDAZOLE1.98M147 mcg per clementine
PYRIMETHANIL1.42M105 mcg per clementine

Grapes: 1 cup of grapes is approximately 151 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
IPRODIONE2.664M402 mcg per cup of grapes
FENHEXAMID1.43M216 mcg per cup of grapes

Nectarines: One nectarine is approximately 140 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
FLUDIOXONIL2.39M335 mcg per nectarine
PYRIMETHANIL1.98M277 mcg per nectarine

Oranges: 1 medium orange is approximately 154 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
IMAZALIL3.26M502 mcg per orange
THIABENDAZOLE1.67M257 mcg per orange
IMAZALIL1.65M254 mcg per orange
PHOSMET1.6M246 mcg per orange
THIABENDAZOLE1.58M243 mcg per orange

Peaches: 1 medium peach is approximately 147 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
CAPTAN2.23M327 mcg per peach
FLUDIOXONIL2.08M306 mcg per peach
PYRIMETHANIL2.011M296 mcg per peach

Pears: 1 medium pear is approximately 166 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
PYRIMETHANIL4.27M709 mcg per pear
FLUDIOXONIL2.55M423 mcg per pear
CAPTAN1.47M244 mcg per pear
Shop Bartlett Pear Tree

Here is a nursery that sells a variety of fruit trees, based on your USDA zone. If you are not sure of your zone Click Here to be redirected to find out.

Perennial Berries:

Perennial berries are also great for a low-maintenance crop, which can be planted in planters that can be moved around (and indoors for a longer growing season). If planted early enough, you can expect fruit the first year. However, the first-year crop will generally be smaller in size and quantity than the second year of the crop. Depending on your planting zone, outside pots may need to be buried for insulation from the ground due to the extremely cold air temperatures. The rule of thumb is that if planted in a pot that will remain outside (and above ground), make sure the plant is zoned at least one zone lower than the zone it will be in.

Blueberries: 1/2 cup of blueberries is approximately 74 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
PHOSMET7.42M549 mcg per 1/2 cup of blueberries

Raspberry: 1 cup of raspberries is approximately 123 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
BIFENAZATE4.7M578 mcg per cup of raspberries

Strawberry: 1 cup of strawberries cut in half is approximately 152 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
CAPTAN4.04M614 mcg per cup of strawberries
THIOPHANATE-METHYL1.58M240 mcg per cup of strawberries
foods covered in pesticides

Herbs:

Herbs are easy to grow in pots and can be moved to a sunny windowsill for a year-long crop in the winter. Here is a list of herbs saturated with chemicals that can easily be grown at home.

Basil: 1 tablespoon of chopped basil is approximately 3 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
AMETOCTRADIN14.1M42.3 mcg per tbsp chopped basil
METHOXYFENOZIDE5.34M16.02 mcg per tbsp chopped basil
CYAZOFAMID4.69M14.07 mcg per tbsp chopped basil
AZOXYSTROBIN3.261M9.78 mcg per tbsp chopped basil
IMIDACLOPRID2.15M6.45 mcg per tbsp chopped basil
CHLORANTRANILIPROLE1.82M5.46 mcg per tbsp chopped basil
MANDIPROPAMIDE1.61M4.83 mcg per tbsp chopped basil
DIMETHOMORPH1.51M4.53 mcg per tbsp chopped basil

Cilantro: 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro is approximately 1 gram

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
CYFLUMETOFEN8.33M8.33 mcg per tbsp cilantro
AZOXYSTROBIN6.2M6.2 mcg per tbsp cilantro
MALATHION3.96M3.96 mcg per tbsp cilantro
PYRACLOSTROBIN3.718M3.718 mcg per tbsp cilantro
CYPERMETHRIN2.608M2.608 mcg per tbsp cilantro
BOSCALID2.387M2.387 mcg per tbsp cilantro
TEBUCONAZOLE1.981M1.981 mcg per tbsp cilantro
CARBENDAZIM (MBC)1.52M1.52 mcg per tbsp cilantro
CHLORPYRIFOS1.444M1.444 mcg per tbsp cilantro
CHLOROTHALONIL1.39M1.39 mcg per tbsp cilantro

Parsley: 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley is approximately 4 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
METHIOCARB13M52 mcg per tbsp parsley
MALATHION1.55M6.2 mcg pert tbsp parsley

Vegetables:

These are easy to grow vegetables that will drastically reduce the amount of pesticides and herbicides you eat. These vegetables can be grown in containers, and can be started and finished indoors to extend the growing season. Growing your own vegetables will ensure that your salads are actually healthy, instead of eating a bowl full of pesticides. Read this article for more information on how to save money while growing your own vegetables.

Asparagus: 1 cup of asparagus is approximately 134 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
CHLORPYRIFOS1.39M186 mcg per cup of asparagus
(asparagus usually needs a couple of years to produce an edible crop, but similar to fruit trees you can plant it and forget it) 

Celery: 1 cup is 127 grams

ProduceChemical NameAmountUnitTotal Amount Per Serving
Celery (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)CHLOROTHALONIL12.3M1,562 mcg per cup of celery
Celery, Dried or PasteBOSCALID2.9M368 mcg per cup of celery

Kale: 1 cup of chopped kale is 67 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
METHOXYFENOZIDE29.78M1,995 mcg per cup of kale
CHLOROTHALONIL24M1,608 mcg per cup of kale
BOSCALID7.784M522 mcg per cup of kale
FLUDIOXONIL4.668M313 mcg per cup of kale
PENTHIOPYRAD3.41M228 mcg per cup of kale
METHOMYL2.81M188 mcg per cup of kale
AMETOCTRADIN2.33M156  mcg per cup of kale
CYPERMETHRIN1.993M133 mcg per cup of kale
CYAZOFAMID1.811M121 mcg per cup of kale
AZOXYSTROBIN1.67M112 mcg per cup of kale
DIAZINON1.489M100 mcg per cup of kale
MALATHION1.4M94 mcg per cup of kale

Lettuce: 1 cup of lettuce is approximately 75 grams

ProduceChemical NameAmountUnitTotal Amount Per Serving
Lettuce, Head (e.g. Iceberg) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)FLUPYRADIFURONE2.33M175 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Head (e.g. Iceberg) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)AMETOCTRADIN2.19M164 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Head (e.g. Iceberg) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)FENAMIDONE1.95M146 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Head (e.g. Iceberg) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)MANDIPROPAMIDE1.84M138 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Head (e.g. Iceberg) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)PERMETHRIN1.75M131 mcg per cup of lettuce
ProduceChemical NameAmountUnitTotal Amount Per Serving
Lettuce, Loose-Leaf (e.g., Romaine) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)FENAMIDONE10.66M800 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Loose-Leaf (e.g., Romaine) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)CYAZOFAMID6.57M493 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Loose-Leaf (e.g., Romaine) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)DIMETHOMORPH4.98M374 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Loose-Leaf (e.g., Romaine) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)PROPAMOCARB4.4M330 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Loose-Leaf (e.g., Romaine) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)PERMETHRIN3.82M287 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Loose-Leaf (e.g., Romaine) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)AMETOCTRADIN3.47M260 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Loose-Leaf (e.g., Romaine) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)MANDIPROPAMIDE2.2M165 mcg per cup of lettuce
Lettuce, Loose-Leaf (e.g., Romaine) (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)IMIDACLOPRID1.785M134 mcg per cup of lettuce

Peas: 1/2 cup of peas is approximately 170 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
GLYPHOSATE1.42M241 mcg per 1/2 cup of peas

Potatoes: 1/2 cup of diced potatoes is approximately 85 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
CHLORPROPHAM9.2M782 mcg per 1/2 cup of potato

Radish: 1 cup of sliced radishes is approximately 116 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
PROPAMOCARB6.415M744 mcg per cup of radishes
TEBUCONAZOLE2.6M267 mcg per cup of radishes
TRIFLOXYSTROBIN2.254M261 mcg per cup of radishes
PYRACLOSTROBIN1.457M169 mcg per cup of radishes

Spinach: 1 cup of spinach is approximately 30 grams

ProduceChemical NameAmountUnitTotal Amount Per Serving
Spinach  (Microgreen)FLUPYRADIFURONE8.07M242 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach  (Microgreen)MANDIPROPAMIDE3.63M109 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach  (Microgreen)AMETOCTRADIN3.24M97 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach  (Microgreen)PERMETHRIN2.54M76 mcg per cup of spinach
ProduceChemical NameAmountUnitTotal Amount Per Serving
Spinach (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)CYAZOFAMID7.6M228 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)AMETOCTRADIN4.04M121 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)FENAMIDONE3.4M102 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)PERMETHRIN2.9M87 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)FLONICAMID2.36M71 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)MANDIPROPAMIDE2.34M70 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)FLUPYRADIFURONE2.3M69 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)FLUOPICOLIDE2.28M68 mcg per cup of spinach
Spinach (Leaf  AND  Stem Vegetable)METHOMYL1.39M42 mcg per cup of spinach

Winter Squash (pumpkin, butternut, spaghetti): 1 cup of raw cubed winter squash is approximately 140 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
CHLOROTHALONIL1.87M262 mcg per cup of squash

Tomatoes: 1 medium tomato is approximately 123 grams

Chemical NameAmountUnitTotal Chemical Per Serving
CHLOROTHALONIL1.365M168 mcg per medium tomato

Sources:

https://www.fda.gov/food/pesticides/pesticide-residue-monitoring-report-and-data-fy-2018

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