The EU Bans Some Chemicals While The FDA Allows The Same.

I often wonder about the FDA and their regulation (or lack thereof) on chemicals that are finding their way into our food. Why is the US behind on banning chemicals, or products, that have been shown to cause diseases, disrupt the endocrine system, and even cause birth defects. European Union Officials Warn Of Health Risks From Pesticides Common On U.S. Fruits And Vegetables, is a December news release from pertaining to this. The two chemicals that the EU is calling for restrictions on are acetamiprid and imidacloprid; both are in the neonicotinoid family of pesticides. According to the EU these chemicals “may affect the developing human nervous system in young children.” It has also been observed that these pesticides are causing death to honeybee colonies.

The US Department of Agriculture has found both of these neurotoxic pesticides in conventional fruits and vegetables. Between 2006 and 2011 imidacloprid was found in roughly 22 percent of the conventionally grown produce tested, and below are the foods most often contaminated:

  • Broccoli (60 percent)
  • Cauliflower (59 percent)
  • Grapes (51 percent)
  • Spinach (48 percent)
  • Lettuce (34 percent)
  • Potatoes (33 percent)
  • Sweet bell peppers (32 percent)
  • Cherry tomatoes (21 percent)
  • Apples (20 percent)

And acetamiprid was found in 10 percent of produce, and most commonly in:

  • Summer squash – zucchini and yellow squash (51 percent)
  • Apples (29 percent)
  • Pears (27 percent)
  • Celery (19 percent)
  • Collard greens (17 percent)
  • Strawberries (13 percent)

To add to this list, In 2010 and 2011 the USDA detected acetamiprid on more than 25 percent of pears used to make baby food.  

What I don't understand is why these chemicals are safe for us to eat, and be put into our children. What matters to us more as a society? Is it our people, or is it profit? California has tried to pass laws to ban certain products, like GMOs, and to require companies to list what is found in our food. However, most often these laws get defeated before they even see the light of day. We have a right to know what is used in the growth of our food just as we have a right to know what items are being used in our food’s packaging (BPA).

What also frustrates me is that these chemicals are not just staying on the foods that are being sprayed. These chemicals get into the air traveling for miles on their own, or attached to insects that are vital to the health of our crops. These chemicals can’t follow the boundaries of where they have been released, and thus we are finding these toxic chemicals in our drinking water, in organic fields, and in children's playgrounds. Remember to support local organic farmers, to know your farmers market suppliers, and buy local when you can.