Should You Be Picking and Buying Organic Apples?
2. Pesticide Exposure
When it comes to pesticide exposure, this year the Environmental Working Group put apples at the top of its “Dirty Dozen” list (a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues) for the second year in a row. (Find out what other fruits and vegetables you should be buying organic here.) Buying organic apples will reduce your exposure to potential pesticide residues, since the USDA restricts all chemical pesticides. Long-term exposure to pesticides has been linked to cancer, infertility and neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, and even small doses of pesticides are far more dangerous for children, with their smaller bodies and developing nervous systems.
According to David Wallinga, M.D., senior advisor in science, food and health for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, scientists believe that some pesticides wreak their damage by operating as free radicals, compounds that damage tissues in ways that can lead to the development of cancer and other diseases. Minimizing your exposure to pesticides will reduce this free-radical damage, of course, says Wallinga, but so will consuming more antioxidants, which mop up free radicals. And, as I mentioned earlier, apples—whether they’re organic or conventional—are full of antioxidants, specifically flavonols, anthocyanins and vitamin C.