As Environmental Health News recently reported, the EPA will ban endosulfan, a chemical cousin of DDT, the pesticide banned in the 1970s because of its devastating effects on wildlife.
While DDT was used widely to kill mosquitoes, endosulfan is used to kill insects on food crops, and therefore shows up on food. The EPA determined that this pesticide is too risky for farm workers, even those who use protective clothing and take other precautions; the state of California has warned that even bystanders may be at risk from air pollution caused by spraying the pesticide.
Health risks of exposure include damage to the male reproductive system, the liver and kidneys and the nervous system. There's also risk to wildlife, including fish and birds.
While the risk from eating pesticide residue on foods is unclear, one recent study pointed to a link between pesticide residue and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and even well-respected pediatricians that, for instance, see the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any risks, recommend that pregnant women eat organic food to avoid pesticide residue.
The good news is that this one nasty chemical will soon disappear from vegetables. Here's a list of the foods that had the most residue of endosulfan, according to WhatsOnMyFood.org, which relies on government pesticide residue testing data. (Note that those items at the top of the list had greater than eight-times greater concentrations than those at the bottom of the list.)
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