Pesticides and bananas? Although bananas are not on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List, they are one of the most chemically intensive crops grown. The list can mislead people into thinking conventional bananas must be ok to consume. However, just because bananas have a peel, many believe that all of the pesticides are on the outside of the fruit. But think again – and choose organic, whenever possible.
4 Things You Should Know About Pesticides and Bananas
1. Non-organic bananas are grown on large plantations, year after year, without crop rotations. This makes them highly susceptible to pests. As a consequence, non-organic bananas are heavily sprayed with synthetic insecticides and herbicides. For example, chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate neurotoxin, which harms farm workers as much as the environment.
2. Non-organic bananas are grown with the intense use of synthetic fertilizers to maximize production. Because the uptake of synthetic materials by the plant is not fully predictable, over-fertilization of bananas is common. This again exposes farm workers to chemicals but also impacts the coastal regions, fish populations, and communities living nearby.
3. Studies have shown that the skin of a fruit is permeable, similar to our own skin and that a certain amount of toxins do end up in the fruit, no matter how protective the skin may be. Safe handling when eating a banana or feeding a baby may reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides. This includes washing the peel of a banana before consumption. However, this will not necessarily protect you from pesticides as some may already be inside the flesh, and therefore cannot be washed off.
4. We compost the peel of a banana, or it goes into the landfill. Either way, the chemicals sticking to the skin of the banana will ultimately leach into our soil and groundwater, wherever we may place the peel. As a result, the chemicals that end up in the groundwater come right back to us via our drinking water, cooking water, or shower water.
Avoid pesticides and ask for organic and fair trade certified bananas. While there are many choices, we stand behind Equal Exchange Bananas.
Originally posted 2017-06-01 10:19:34.