There’s no doubt that pesticides do their part to make food better and more affordable, but they also contribute to a number of health problems such as cancer, disease of the lungs, problems with reproduction, and disorders of the endocrine system and the immune system. There is also proof that pesticides can cause certain changes in brain chemistry that lead to learning and behavioural disorders and long term damage to the nervous system and the brain.
 
Children are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides for several reasons. Compared to adults, children eat more food relative to body weight. As children eat a more limited number of foods, they could be exposed to a specific pesticide more than an adult who usually eats a wider variety of foods. Children’s bodies can absorb pesticide easier than an adult body because their digestive tracks are not fully developed and they may not be able to break down ingested pesticides.
 
The benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticides, so you should not reduce or eliminate them from your child’s diet. However, there are steps you can take to protect them from pesticides.
 
·        Always peel fruits and vegetables and remove the outer layers of things like cabbage and lettuce.
·        If you do not peel a fruit or vegetable, make sure to wash it thoroughly, scrubbing the outer peel.
·        Soak fruits and vegetables that are hard to wash, like strawberries and broccoli.
·        Try to eliminate animal fat. It’s known that pesticides from grazing livestock will be concentrated in the animal’s fat.
·        Purchase organic fruits and vegetables, especially for foods that your child eats a lot of. Also, try to purchase organic when you are buying celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, curly kale, potatoes, and imported grapes. These are the foods that test highest in pesticide residue.
·        Buy locally grown foods. They are less likely to be contaminated with pesticides that are meant to lengthen the shelf life.
Lastly, make sure to give your child a large variety of fruits and vegetables so they will not be repeatedly consuming the same types of pesticides.

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