Testing for Pesticides in Food and Supplements is Necessary by Teri Arranga

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A Mom’s View: Yes! Testing for Pesticides in Food and Supplements is Necessary
Chronic exposure to neurotoxicants may lead to irreversible destruction of neurons and neural pathways in addition to the well-known effects of endocrine disruption. But the problem is insidious, as much of the time, the clinical manifestations of this may not become apparent until later in life. I have always wondered about the wisdom of using pesticides. If it might kill one creature, might it not hurt humans? And, in fact, studies do show that industrial pesticides hurt humans, too.
According to the World Health Organization website, “Long-term exposure to pesticides can increase the risk of developmental and reproductive disorders, immune-system disruption, endocrine disruption, impaired nervous-system function, and development of certain cancers. Children are at higher risk from exposure than are adults.”
A Harvard study published in the Annals of Neurology in 2006 found that exposure to pesticides could increase the long-term risk for developing Parkinson’s Disease (PD) by 70 percent. And a 2008 study in BMC Neurologyreported that “Overall, individuals with PD were significantly more likely to report direct pesticide application than their unaffected relatives. . . . Frequency, duration, and cumulative exposure were also significantly associated with PD in a dose-response pattern.” This study from Duke University found that the Parkinson’s patients were 61% more likely to report direct exposure to pesticides than were their healthy relatives.
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A 2008 news brief from the National Institutes of Health told us that “Licensed pesticide applicators who used chlorinated pesticides on more than 100 days in their lifetime were at greater risk of diabetes . . . . The associations between specific pesticides and incident diabetes ranged from a 20 percent to a 200 percent increase in risk . . . .”
What about other neurological diseases? A report from the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center, funded by the CDC, linked pesticides to neurological changes seen in Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s. This report showed that the areas of the brain in lab rats affected by pesticide exposure are the same areas linked to these conditions.
Why risk it? Peel away the pesticides? If you are buying produce that is not organically grown, the problem goes deeper since many pesticides and herbicides are systemic, penetrating into the flesh of the fruits and vegetables. The Environmental Working Group recently updated its list with EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, that reflects the overall pesticide loads of common fruits and vegetables. EWG analyzed pesticide residue testing data from the USDA and FDA to formulate rankings for 53 fresh produce items. Most samples were washed and peeled before testing.
EWG explains that eating produce is better than not, but that “you can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.”
What comprises the “Dirty Dozen,” which should be preferably purchased as organically grown? 1. 2. Apples Celery
3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
Strawberries Peaches Spinach Imported Nectarines Imported Grapes Sweet Bell Peppers Potatoes Domestic Blueberries Lettuce Kale/collard greens
Let’s more closely look at culprit #3: The USDA had previously found a total of 54 separate pesticides in their conventionally grown strawberry samples, with 14 different residues found in one strawberry sample. Of 741 total samples, 697 samples were found to have pesticide residues. And unfortunately, in 2010, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation took a step backwards and approved the use of methyl iodide for strawberry farmers. This pesticide is a fumigant that kills insects, weeds and bacteria. There is also research showing it causes cancer in rats and mice. For a really sickening revelation, look at the 52 pesticide residues found in blueberries tested in 2008 at the WhatsOnMyFood website, which derived its information from the USDA Pesticide Data Program. I cannot even pronounce the names, and there are symbols denoting developmental, reproductive, carcinogenic, and neurotoxic effects. Further links explore a host of other conventional foods, or you can search by pesticide.
You can continue reading about the “Clean 15″ — those lowest in pesticides — at the EWG website linkwww.ewg.org/foodnews/summary. Pesticides have no place in nutritional supplements:Welcome to the Kirkman® Ultra Tested™ line
Why is this discussion relevant to dietary supplements? As an example, a report by Wong et al. tells us “In samples collected in 2004, pesticides were found in 44 out of 87 samples of botanical dietary supplements (the majority of these being ginseng products) suspected of containing pesticides. Over 30 different types of organochlorine, organophosphorus, and organonitrogen pesticide residues were present in these samples, with pentachloroaniline, pentachlorobenzene, and quintozene being the most abundant. A majority of these products contained more than one pesticide; one such sample was found to contain as many as 12 organochlorine compounds.”
In the previously mentioned EWG report, the herb cilantro, which had never been tested by USDA until now, showed 33 unapproved pesticides on 44 percent of the cilantro samples — the highest percentage of unapproved pesticides recorded on any item included in the guide since EWG started tracking the data in 1995!
With the Ultra Tested™ line, exclusively available from Kirkman® and in contrast to the products of other supplement companies, ALL raw materials are monitored for hundreds of potentially harmful pesticides.
Pesticide residues fall into two categories, non-volatile and volatile. Equipment necessary to monitor all types of potential pesticide contamination, therefore, requires two distinct types of laboratory equipment. The non-volatile pesticides are detected and measured with liquid chromatography (LC). Non-volatile pesticides are tested on state-of-the-art LC triple quadrupole spectrometer (LC-MS) equipment. By using the new triple quadrupole technology, a tenfold increase in sensitivity over older single quad technology is realized. LC-MS is also used to test for non-volatile chemicals, vitamins and other compounds of dietary and food supplements. The measurement of volatile pesticides and other volatile chemicals and contaminants require different technology. Kirkman® uses state-of-the-art custom gas chromatograph (GC) equipment for this purpose, equipped with a pesticide GC-MS analyzer. This is the most advanced technology available for the analysis of volatile pesticide compounds. In addition to pesticides, Kirkman® also tests for 24 heavy metals, common allergens and bacteria, yeast and mold. No other nutritional supplement company in the world offers the degree of purity testing that Kirkman® does.
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http://www.who.int/heli/risks/toxics/chemicals/en/index.html Ascherio, A et al. Pesticide Exposure and Risk for Parkinson’s Disease. Ann Neurol. 2006;60:197-
3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Hancock DB, et al. Pesticide exposure and risk of Parkinson’s disease: A family-based case-control
study.BMC Neurol. 2008;8:6. http://ag.udel.edu/extension/pesticide/briefs/briefsindex.htm http://www.enn.com/press_releases/1592 http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list/ www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=BB http://www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=720_11