While pesticide consumption is certainly not good for you, not a whole lot is likely to happen if you occasionally forget to wash a conventionally grown vegetable before you eat it. However, if you consistently eat vegetables that have pesticide residue on them without first washing them, they could cause you harm. Studies reported on by the EPA have shown pesticides to cause birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other long term health problems.
Although studies on short-term effects of pesticide are inconclusive, a number of research efforts had identified a link between long-term pesticide consumption and serious health risks. The fact that pesticides often contain very toxic chemical compounds, their carcinogenic qualities are not surprising. One study showed that consumption of organic produce versus “conventionally-grown” ones may reduce ones risk for cancer by as much as 80%. Some produce tend to be much higher in pesticide count than others, with many findings showing between 47 and 67 different chemicals. Those are labeled as the “dirty dozen” and should be purchased organic, “unless you relish the idea of consuming a chemical cocktail”. The “clean fifteen” include produce with little-to-no trace of pesticides when grown conventionally, making it ok to purchase non-organic.
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