Toxic pesticide residue in EU fruit and vegetables has increased according to new report
PAN, (Pesticide Action Network), Europe recently released a report on the exposure of EU citizens to the most toxic pesticides used on fruit and vegetables sold in the EU. Their research contradicts official claims that toxic pesticide use is declining, and residues of these chemicals left on the food are under control.
PAN Europe document a dramatic rise in the frequency and intensity of residues found on fruit and vegetables from the category of pesticides defined as ‘more hazardous’ by the European Commission. These chemicals are linked to a range of chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular problems and have been found to be highly toxic to the environment.
Comparing data from 2011 to 2019, PAN Europe report a dramatic increase in fruits contaminated with the most hazardous category of pesticides. For example, in 2011 only 4% of kiwi fruits were found to be contaminated with these most toxic substances, when almost a third (32%) were found to be contaminated in 2019. They also noted the widespread contamination of fruit and vegetables in certain countries. For example, by 2019, 87% of pears produced in Belgium were contaminated with at least one of these substances, and 85% of the celery grown in Italy showed the same trend.
Twelve years ago, CHEM Trust produced a review on the role pesticides play in some cancers. Alarm bells have been ringing on the threat that pesticides pose to our health and the environment for years, and it is concerning that increases in toxic pesticides are being detected in our food.
CHEM Trust recently released a report on ‘Chemical Cocktails’ highlighting the reality of combined exposure to chemicals that we face in our daily lives, from the food we eat to, the air we breathe and the consumer products we use. Decades of research have demonstrated that this combined exposure to several chemicals can result in toxic cocktail effects and that these effects can be triggered even when each chemical is present at low concentrations.
PAN Europe calls for the substitution of the most hazardous pesticides by EU Member States. But these reforms must be accompanied by CHEM Trust’s recommendation for a mixture assessment factor in all chemical regulation to take in to account our exposure to a range of chemicals throughout our lives.
We hope that you all will be able to enjoy a restful winter break, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, if you are celebrating!