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Pesticide Residues Found in Fruit-Based Drinks

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2008) Researchers in Spain conducted the first worldwide study of pesticides in fruit-based soft drinks and found high levels of pesticides in drinks from some countries, especially the United Kingdom and Spain. Drinks sampled from the United States, however, had relatively low levels.

The study, to be published in the December 15th issue of the American Chemical Society’s journal, Analytical Chemistry, and entitled, “Determination of Pesticide Residues in Fruit-Based Soft Drinks,” screened for approximately 100 pesticides in fruit-based soft drinks purchased from 15 different countries from companies with brands distributed worldwide and found relatively large concentration levels of pesticides in most of the samples analyzed. The detected pesticides included carbendazim, thiabendazole, imazalil and its main degradate, prochloraz and its main degradate, malathion, and iprodione. These pesticides are normally applied to crops as post harvest treatments.

The researchers found relatively large concentrations of pesticides, in the micrograms per liter (ug/l) range, in most of the samples analyzed. Samples from Spain and the U. K. had the highest levels of pesticides, while samples from the U. S. and Russia were among the lowest. Many international brands are imported into the United States.

While pesticide regulations in the United States and the European Union set limits for pesticide levels found in fruits, vegetables and drinking water, little attention is paid to the presence of pesticides in to highly consumed derivate products, such as soft drinks made from fruits. The researchers of this study are concerned about the possible impact of pesticide-containing fruit juices on the health of children, who tend to consume large amounts of such soft drinks. Pound for pound, children take in more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults in the food they eat. The body of evidence in scientific literature shows that pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine system, even at low levels.

In the United States, under the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must assess the cumulative risks of pesticides including exposures from food and drinking water and set chemical tolerances (the maximum amount of pesticide residue allowed to remain on food products) for pesticides. However, the cumulative effects of these allowed pesticide residues are not fully evaluated, nor are cumulative exposures to a mixture of many different pesticides and other toxics.

: Go Organic: Studies have found that diet is the primary route of exposure to pesticides, especially in children, and that switching to an organic diet decreases exposure substantially. The most important organic food products to purchase for children are those that they consume in great quantity. For example, if children drink a lot of juice, purchasing organic juice is particularly important to reduce their pesticide exposure.

Source: Science Daily


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