June 15, 2010

Pesticides And Fruit

Coca Cola.jpg
everything tastes better with Coke

 
I.

This is how it works.

They write a study about a link between pesticides and ADHD.  I observe that the link isn't the point; the point is to provide another half inch to the stack of "studies about ADHD" so you never question the diagnosis itself.

But there's an unfortunate result of that debate: because I've gone "the extra step"-- gone meta, if you prefer-- you don't think there are any other steps to go.

So you don't think about the pesticides.  Because the focus is now on ADHD-- whether the link is real, or whether it's a different syndrome-- you are lulled into false security if your kid doesn't have ADHD.  "Phew, I guess the pesticides don't affect him."


II. 


In the comments someone had asked: What about a gene that mediates a link between organophosphates and ADHD?  A gene that makes you more sensitive to pesticides?  That would explain the heritability of ADHD too, wouldn't it? 

The NTE gene exists in two copies.  If you're lacking both copies of the NTE gene, you're dead.  If you lack one copy, you get a 40% reduction in the NTE enzyme (made by the gene).  According to this study, deficiencies of this enzyme make mice more sensitive to organophosphates-- it makes them hyper and distractible.

But it matters what you call things.  If this were true, then it is only saying that some people (who have deficiency of the enzyme) are more sensitive to organophosphate toxicity.  You could even go so far as to say that those symptoms look exactly like ADHD-- but they're not ADHD, they are still pesticide poisoning.  You would actually have to go back and say that some kids were misdiagnosed as having ADHD, but they really had pesticide poisoning.

As a techincal issue, lacking this gene/enzyme wouldn't cause an increase in pesticide metabolites in the urine, i.e. lacking the gene wouldn't cause a greater exposure to pesticides, which is what the Pediatrics study detected.


III.

What should we do?  Wash our fruits?

This is a meta-analysis of studies of various produce preparation techniques on levels of  pesticides.  The R* is the percentage of pesticide left on the fruit, e.g. frying removed 90% of the residue.


produce washing.jpg
Baking made the concentration of pesticides go up because of water loss; but much of the pesticides themselves could also have been burned off.  So feel free to bake.

Peeling is the best method.  The skins of many fruits contain high concentrations of nutrients, but they're simply not worth pesticide exposure.

Washing does not help. Even though it looks like washing helps, most people don't wash their genitals as well as they washed these fruits: soaking in a bucket of water for 5-20min; using acetic acid or ethanol washes; multiple washes with a lot of water; combinations of all of those.  And that still didn't do much. If thunderstorms don't wash away pesticides, why would five seconds under the tap? (one, two, three, four, five.)

IV.

The study followed 23 kids over a year, letting them live their crazy lives.  But for two non-consecutive weeks, they substituted organic produce:


malathion over the year.jpg
There are a million other pesticide studies I could have used to show the difference between organic and ordinary produce, but I chose this one to make a different point: you have been lied to so many times, now you are being lied to by yourself.

There is a nearly 100% likelihood that you are looking at this chart the wrong way.
  You are probably saying, "hmm, I wonder what it was on days 95-100 that reduced their pesticide exposure?"  What you should be asking-- and it is not the same thing at all-- is "hmm, I wonder what was going on in days 1-5, 9-93, 180-278 that exposed these kids to such high levels of pesticides?"    Normal is NO pesticides.  But you've allowed "common" to be replaced with "acceptable."

So let's look at the results here:

1. on the days they got organics, they had minimal exposure to pesticides-- this means that everything else in their life (outside, inside) did not really contribute to their exposure, it was almost all due to produce. 

2.  better illustrated by a reworking of the above graph:


seasonal malathion.jpg



there was a seasonal effect-- Winter and Spring had higher OP exposure than fall (and summer.)   What's different in the winter and spring?  We don't have American produce to eat, what with their EPA controlled pesticide levels.  The supermarkets stock the South American produce where, apparently, they have super bugs that can only be killed by plutonium mist.

V.

There is no easy way to present this data, but trust me: it's worth it.

This study looked at pesticide concentrations in fruit based soft drinks, e.g. made by Coca Cola, across the world.  The same product, in different countries, has different pesticide levels.  Here's one:



Likelihood Of Winning The World Cup

pesticide by country.jpgO= Orange drink, L= lemon drink.



1. Depending on which country you're in, you get more or less pesticide.  Take that, you Limey bastards.

2. U.S. not shown?  Because there are no fruit juices in our fruit juice soft drinks: all artificial flavoring.  Yay chemicals!

3. This is only one pesticide.  Toxicity to multiple pesticides is not just additive, but synergistic.

4. The max EU standard is 0.1 ppb.  That's zero point one. Take that you Fanta drinking scurvy preventing Limey bastards.  Should've stuck to rum.


Vb.


Thus, we can make a graph:



This Is Where You Don't Want To Live 

total pesticides by country.jpg
See those small purple bars?  They represent the EU max, 0.5ug/L.  NB: again, U.S. is low not because we care, but because we don't care.

How do you get that much pesticide into a drink with only 5% juice?  See II and III above: they get their lemons and oranges from countries with lax pesticide standards, and they don't peel them.


Vc.  How can they get away with that?  Answer: using words!

The EU max standards, above, are for drinking water. The max standards for fruit are much, much higher, which means this is ok by fruit standards.

You may not think that a 5% fruit soda by Coca Cola is a fruit, but it is.



fanta nigeria.JPGsomeone tell me how to peel this bitch


Vd.

I looked for Coca Cola fruit sodas that were tested in the U.S., and found 3-- each had 3% fruit juice.  None of them had any detected farm pesticides-- likely due to the use of American lemons and oranges (thanks, farm subsidies.)

However, they did all have 0.4, 0.5, and 0.7 ug/L of carbendazim, a post-harvest antifungal.  Which, as near as I can tell, is banned.

I think it's excitingly excellent that though these drinks contain almost no actual fruit, they contain plenty of the pesticides of actual fruit.


---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych


---

another possible explanation for the rise of "ADHD"

more on pesticides and food

---







Comments

don't know where to start h... (Below threshold)

June 15, 2010 8:30 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

don't know where to start here. great data, not sure what to take away from it.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
If you don't like to eat pe... (Below threshold)

June 15, 2010 9:19 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If you don't like to eat pesticides, eat food that has not been pesticided or fry your fruit.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (5 votes cast)
My initial response to the ... (Below threshold)

June 15, 2010 9:42 PM | Posted by Jim: | Reply

My initial response to the second (and third) charts was not in fact "hmm, I wonder what it was on days 95-100 that reduced their pesticide exposure?", but rather "Hmm, do these researchers really not know that log scales can't go to zero - that the zeros on both y-axes actually represent 0.1? And if they can't properly represent data, what hope is there that they properly sampled and processed it?"

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 9 (9 votes cast)
Irony is a lost art.... (Below threshold)

June 15, 2010 10:11 PM | Posted by ThomasD: | Reply

Irony is a lost art.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
This is gonna keep me from ... (Below threshold)

June 15, 2010 10:22 PM | Posted by JeremyD: | Reply

This is gonna keep me from licking the fruit at the grocery store now. Thanks a lot.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (6 votes cast)
Great post. Loved every min... (Below threshold)

June 15, 2010 10:22 PM | Posted by David: | Reply

Great post. Loved every minute of it. No fruit in the juice? No pesticides. Just pure chemicals. Someone's gonna market their drink based on these findings. 100% pesticide-free chemicals!!!!!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
tlp (or anyone else with an... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 1:11 AM | Posted by The (P)Irate Piper: | Reply

tlp (or anyone else with an answer), the meat we eat comes from animals. and those animals are fed with plants...plants also covered in pesticides i assume? and, since they're not human, i'm *guessing* they probably have less regulation on how much pesticide can be on those plants (meant for animal/not-human consumption).

Since we eat those animals, why don't they contribute to our pesticide levels? "it was almost all due to produce."

i feel like i'm probably missing something really obvious

The (P)Irate Piper
theiratepiper.wordpress.com

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Maybe pesticides do not acc... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 8:46 AM | Posted, in reply to The (P)Irate Piper's comment, by Alex-5: | Reply

Maybe pesticides do not accumulate in animal's muscles (the meat we eat) but somewhere else, liver for example. Or maybe nobody cares, which is more likely ;)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
The pesticides are not spra... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 8:56 AM | Posted, in reply to The (P)Irate Piper's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

The pesticides are not sprayed on natural grassland where cattle, sheep and other animals graze. There's no reason to spray such areas since grazers eat grass, weeds, whatever grows and tastes good.

Of course, there may be some runoff of water from cropland where corn, wheat, soybeans are grown. That doesn't seem like much of a problem, though.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (6 votes cast)
I thought our cattle are co... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 9:53 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I thought our cattle are corn fed rather than grass fed...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
I'm disappointed, but not s... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 10:21 AM | Posted by sanitizer: | Reply

I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that washing has such minimal effect... must buy more organic... then again I'm bound to hear it doesn't solve all the problems!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
Wow, that is shocking. But ... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 10:27 AM | Posted by Alan: | Reply

Wow, that is shocking. But how much would Fanta cost if it were natural, I wonder?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
<a href="http://thelastpsyc... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 11:15 AM | Posted, in reply to The (P)Irate Piper's comment, by Charles: | Reply

One of the linked posts contains a note on pesticides in meat. tl;dr version: if you eat meat and don't like pesticide, baking helps, but for best results steam your meat before you eat it.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
How do we know or do we kno... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 12:43 PM | Posted by skeptic: | Reply

How do we know or do we know where the threshold lies for exposure that is enough to cause toxixity in the vulnerable individual?

The graph about the change in pesticide levels with different ways of preparing fruit might not suggest any meaningful way to avoid toxicity if the threshold is low. I dont think amount of exposure and prevalence of toxicity will relate in a linear fashion.

The gap between the prevalence of ADD in the USA compared to other societies would be likely higher if not for the higher regulations here about pesticide levels. The reason for the existing gaps most likely is due to other factors such as delusional acceptance of the reductionistic medical model by practitioners and patients, no respect for rigor in phenomenology by practitioners, third party payor system, direct to consumer advertizing, the need to publish for getting grants, excessibe NIH spending on grants and mental health disability laws.

Thanks for the article. As always You taught me something.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (3 votes cast)
"skins of fruits are simply... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 1:40 PM | Posted by Ken Roberts: | Reply

"skins of fruits are simply not worth pesticide exposure"
Is this true? If so, why on earth are we using pesticides?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (2 votes cast)
I've heard it argued that i... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 2:49 PM | Posted by RC: | Reply

I've heard it argued that if pesticides were outlawed, cancer rates would rise. The reasoning is that without pesticides, crops would have lower yields. Less fruits and vegetables on the market would increase prices, causing people to eat less of them and have less antioxidants in their diet.

That sounds like it could be true, but then again it could be propaganda.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
Where'd you get those figur... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 5:14 PM | Posted by corronchilejano: | Reply

Where'd you get those figures? I'd like to see more countries, see how bad Colombia is, with all our Superfriends bugs.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
"Pesticide" is one of those... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2010 6:02 PM | Posted by Andrew: | Reply

"Pesticide" is one of those words that flips a switch in our heads that says "danger," and sets off a crotch-guarding chain of knee-jerk reactions.

You know what we got when we banned DDT? Malaria. Millions of miles of malaria.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (9 votes cast)
I love reading your posts. ... (Below threshold)

June 17, 2010 4:16 AM | Posted by Lexi: | Reply

I love reading your posts. What I don't like is recognizing that I am one of those people who would view an article like that as support for ADHD, rather than, perhaps, seeing things on a deeper and or more critical level.

Any advice for learning how to see the world more as you do? Other than getting older?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
Lexi - a good question. Fig... (Below threshold)

June 17, 2010 9:06 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

Lexi - a good question. Figure out the answer to this, and you will be on your way: where does a tree get its mass?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
I...wow. As always, very in... (Below threshold)

June 18, 2010 9:15 AM | Posted by Mae: | Reply

I...wow. As always, very interesting. Makes me want to grow my own damn fruit.

Hey, wait, that's a great idea!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Most cattle are grass or wh... (Below threshold)

June 19, 2010 6:52 PM | Posted by Crissy: | Reply

Most cattle are grass or wheat pasture-fed.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (2 votes cast)
The food industry and farmi... (Below threshold)

June 19, 2010 11:50 PM | Posted by information addict: | Reply

The food industry and farming practices is scary as hell when you look under the rug. Probably as bad as the pharmaceutical industry.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
This puts a new spin on tha... (Below threshold)

March 23, 2012 11:01 AM | Posted by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

This puts a new spin on that story about the EU preventing water bottlers from stating that water is hydrating in advertisements. It's a strange world.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Ha! I think it's hilarious ... (Below threshold)

December 27, 2012 11:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by Laura: | Reply

Ha! I think it's hilarious that you think that your meat is grown from animals that are free-ranged in some huge vast rolling countryside.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)

Post a Comment


Live Comment Preview

October 21, 2014 14:17 PM | Posted by Anonymous: