If you splash your fruits and veggies with a little water and consider them clean, you might want to step your game up. It turns out there is only one way that will get rid of the dangerous pesticides coating them.
According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, removal of pesticide residues from fresh produce is important to reduce the risk of exposure. Pesticides have been linked to a number of health problems in humans including everything from headaches to respiratory problems to cancer.
So what’s the best way to rid your produce of these unwanted chemical residues?
Scientists for the study applied three different washing methods to a bunch of Gala apples — Clorox bleach, baking soda, and plain tap water. They tracked the pesticide levels throughout the study and found that apples soaked in a baking soda and water solution for eight minutes had significantly less pesticides present that the apples soaked in either the water or bleach mixtures. After 12 to 15 minutes of soaking, scientists found that almost all of the pesticide residue had been washed off the apples.
It turns out that baking soda is great at breaking down two common types of pesticides: Thiabendazole and phosmet. While baking soda might not be the answer for all chemical residues, it’s a start.
Of course, we’re only capable of washing away the pesticides on the surface of our fruits and vegetables. Chemicals that have soaked into the skin, can’t be washed away. The only thing you can do to make sure you have a pesticide-free snack is to go organic.
If soaking your fruit for 12 minutes sounds like a time luxury you don’t have, scientists say that even sprinkling a bit of baking soda in with your tap water wash can help wash away additional chemicals that water alone wouldn’t have.
Also, if you’re limited on time, consider the Environmental Working Group’s list of the Dirty Dozen — also known as the most pesticide-laden produce. Strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples and grapes show the highest number of chemicals residues present. So if you’re in a pinch, maybe prioritize washing these well above others.
For more on the dirtiest and the cleanest produce, check out the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list.
Also see, 10 Ways to live a healthier lifestyle.
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