President Trump has signed an order denying the petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) to ban chlorpyrifos (Lorsban), a pesticide that some say causes neurodevelopmental effects in children at exposure levels below EPA’s existing regulatory standard. The EPA claims that the “science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved.” The next reevaluation of the safety of this product is not scheduled until 2022.
Not willing to take the risk? According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, when it comes to local produce, this will allow peanut growers in our area to continue to use this insecticide. The Environmental Working Group suggests that if you want to avoid feeding your family produce that may contain chlorpyrifos residue even after it has been thoroughly washed, choose organic versions for these fruits and vegetables:
- Imported peaches from Chile (20 percent of samples tested positive)
- Imported nectarines from Chile (13 percent of samples tested positive)
- Imported bell peppers from Mexico (22 percent of samples tested positive)
- Imported hot peppers from Mexico (15 percent samples tested positive)
- Domestic and imported cilantro (27 percent of samples tested positive)
Unfortunately, chloropyrifos is not the only potentially toxic pesticide in use. There are a number of organophosphates, chemicals that are specifically designed to damage an enzyme in the body called acetylcholinesterase, that are responsible for 70% of pesticide use in the United States, according to PANNA.
The argument for consuming organic produce is compelling. Consider buying organics and seeking out fresh LOCAL produce at area Farmers Markets. You can just ask the farmer what is used to manage pests and make an informed consumer choice.
For more information about Fairfax County Farmers Markets and organic produce check out https://ourstoriesandperspectives.com/2016/07/27/fairfax-county-farmers-markets/. A listing of all area Farmers Markets can be found at www.cleanfairfax.org — Programs.