(NaturalNews) Pesticides and fungicides are sprayed onto orange and lemon shipments to so that they don't rot during long shipping and storage periods. The citrus exposed to these pesticides are marked on the boxes with a message something like this:
"Treated to maintain freshness in transit with one or more of the following: Imazalil, Orthophenylphenate, Thiabendazole. Coated with food-grade vegetable-, petroleum-, beeswax-, or shellac-based wax or resin, to maintain freshness."
What is Imazalil?
Used to prevent oranges and lemons from mold and fungus, Imazalil is produced in the United States and abroad. Imazalil is a fungicide and a known carcinogen. It is also a developmental and reproductive toxin. Imazalil is toxic to fish and the environment.
How much Imazalil fungicide is on an orange?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set exposure levels for Imazalil. The adult levels are between 1750 and 3500 units per day for a 154-pound male. The limits for 44-pound children are 50 units per day for a chronic (meaning continued) exposure, and 333 for a child in an acute intake (meaning at one time). The residue of this toxic chemical on oranges has been tested at between 8 ug in 3.5 ounces of orange to 79 ug for domestic oranges. For imported oranges, between 15 and 74 ug was found. Organic domestic oranges showed NO levels for this chemical and imported organic oranges were not tested.
How much orange exposed to pesticides is it safe to eat?
According to the statistics presented by the EPA and the United Stated Department of Agriculture Pesticide Data Program, the largest quantity of oranges that is safe for children to ingest in one day is 14 ounces. Amounts of toxins on an orange or lemon vary from fruit to fruit, and from supplier to supplier. If the domestic orange contains only 9 ug per 100 grams of orange, you will be safe eating more oranges, however, in testing over 700 samples of both American and imported oranges, the oranges contained toxin levels ranging from 9 to 79. To be safe, assume that the upper levels of toxins are on an orange.
To safely eat oranges without overdosing on the cancer--inducing toxin Imazalil, the USDA's Pesticide Data Program information is that 14 ounces of oranges could be above the toxicity threshold for a 44-pound child, if eaten at one time. For an adult, the amount of oranges is about 22 ounces. An orange weighs about 7 ounces. Most of the pesticides are on the skin. That being said, eating two oranges could cause a toxic overload of Imazalil for a child, and three oranges might be toxic to an adult.
How are the safe levels of exposure to pesticides and toxins set?
United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP) rates chemicals and pesticides based on a tolerable amount to be taken for long periods of time, which they call the chronic level, and also rates the acute dose, which means the amount that is tolerable for ingestion at one time. This is measured in units called PAD, which stands for Population Adjusted Dose. The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) recognizes that children are more sensitive to toxins, so they mandated separate testing for them.
About the author: Talya Dagan is a health advocate and health coach, trained in nutrition and gourmet health food cuisine, writing about natural remedies for disease and nutrition and herbal medicine. You can follow her blog at www.talyadagan.com