Diet and pesticides

By Dr Vishal Rao U S

We often avoid consumtion of fruits or vegetables worrying about useof pesticides and its harmful effects on body.

The resulting estimates are that approximately 20,000 cancer cases per year could be prevented by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, while up to 10 cancer cases per year could be caused by the added pesticide consumption. These estimates have significant uncertainties (e.g., potential residual confounding in the fruit and vegetable epidemiologic studies and reliance on rodent bioassays for cancer risk).

Pesticides and herbicides can be toxic when used improperly in industrial, agricultural, or other occupational settings. Although vegetables and fruits sometimes contain low levels of these chemicals, overwhelming scientific evidence supports the overall health benefits and cancer-protective effects of eating vegetables and fruits. At present there is no evidence that residues of pesticides and herbicides at the low doses found in foods increase the risk of cancer, but fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before eating.

However, the overwhelming difference between benefit and risk estimates provides confidence that consumers should not be concerned about cancer risks from consuming conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables.

Having said this, It is important to understand that there are no strict measures to control the usage of vegetable / fruits among farmers or to regulate the laws of punishment for usage of banned pesticides in India.

Hence it is advisable that one consumes plenty of fruits of vegetable but only after they are properly washed and cleaned to minimize any residual pesticides.

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