Pesticides on Fruit and Vegetables: What will YOU pay to remove them? $5000?

If you compare our UltraStream Natural Water Ionizer with an electronic water ionizer from the big multilevel pyramid marketer on a feature for feature basis, the UltraStream lacks in just one area. I’ll share this in a moment, but first, a direct comparison of all the other points people ask about…

The MLM device wastes almost half the water put through it, the UltraStream wastes none.
The MLM device needs extra prefilters to get anywhere near the filter efficiency of the UltraStream.
The MLM device needs bi-weekly cleanse routines to maintain the performance of H2 close to the UltraStream PLUS return-to-vendor periodic deep cleans.
The MLM device produces low alkalinity high pH water because it doesn’t add any alkaline minerals to the output water. The Ultrastream adds alkaline minerals as well as creating high pH, ORP, and H2 levels.
The MLM device takes up a lotta space on the bench. UltraStream doesn’t.
The MLM device isn’t designed to be installed undersink. The UltraStream is.

But.. yes, at the push of a button, and the addition of certain chemicals, you can push the pH of the MLM device way up to about the pH of Lye… where it will indeed remove pesticides from some fruit.

You can’t do that with the UltraStream – which was pointed out me on our Facebook page by a proud MLM owner of his new ‘K8’ water ionizer which he would have purchased for ‘north’ of AU$6000.

So let’s look at what it really cost him to be able to remove pesticides from fruit and some vegetables.

Given that the UltraStream – even the undersink model – is well ‘south’ of a AU$1000, he paid another  FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS so he could remove pesticide. This must be some sort of record for a kitchen gadget!

And.. the question I doubt he ever considered is whether there was a better or equally effective way to remove pesticides and save enough for a family holiday in Bali.

I agree that there’s a lot to worry about when it comes to food —

there’s certainly a lot that people wanting you to worry about it, including the MLM vendors of this particular device.

Every second health blogger and natural living life coach with a website to their name is certainly blasting us with helpful tips on how to rid ourselves of toxins and chemicals.
Google “how to get pesticides off fruit” and you’re greeted by no less than 8,000,000 posts all promising the answer.

I agree that it’s good to want fewer of the chemicals we use to kill off bugs and weeds on our fruit and vegetables. But surely you should know that what you’re doing actually works. A simple example: plenty of people wash their chicken before cooking it, even though that method does nothing to kill bacteria. and in fact, spreads potentially dangerous pathogens all over your kitchen sink. So let’s look at the evidence:

$6000+ water ionizers might work, store-bought veggie washes don’t work, baking soda does work.

Do you want the truth? OK.
Water can remove some of the pesticides from a piece of fruit, and a good scrub-a-dub under the tap will help at least a little. The extent to which this rather haphazard method works depends on the fruit itself. Some skins will more readily release their accumulated pesticides. Apples treated with wax for extra shine will retain pesticides despite your scrubbing.  However, water’s random ineffectiveness doesn’t mean you should waste money on store-bought veggie washes because frankly, they don’t seem to work, either.

A $6000+ water ionizer will also remove some pesticide if operated and maintained properly. Note: some pesticides.

And even if soap worked – it’s unclear if it does – regular soap is liable to seep into the surface.
(Think: eating an apple, frothing at the mouth.)

Easier, cheaper, Better

A recent study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found one simple and better alternative:

Baking Soda.
A small tub of bicarbonate of soda – cheap as chips – is the only addition you need in your kitchen to maximize pesticide removal. You don’t have to plug it in, or plumb it in, or give it regular cleanses to keep it working. It doesn’t talk to you, and it has no buttons you need to select to make it work.

A solution of sodium bicarbonate and water will remove more pesticides than water alone, and it does it without you doing more than dunking the fruit! The only thing you need to remember is that it takes up to 15 minutes to thoroughly remove pesticides.

An Example from the study:
Gala apples soaking in baking soda for eight minutes had significantly reduced pesticide residue on their surface, and at 12–15 minutes there were virtually no pesticides left.

Why does it work so well? Sodium bicarbonate can degrade the two types of pesticides used in this study, thiabendazole, and phosmet. Yes, other chemicals might not react the same way, so this solution isn’t a guarantee of a pesticide-free snack. It’s just a lot better than all the other alternatives – including the $5000+ one!

A small Proviso.

I can only tell you what the study tells me. But ask your suddenly friendly MLM vendor for his study to prove the effectiveness of his high pH water and I’m wagering you’ll also find gaping holes in his report – if he has one. Obviously, there are many, many pesticides, and fungicides used in our food and as yet there’s nothing I’ve seen that addresses all of them. So in that sense, we are comparing apples to apples – no pun intended – when we compare the $6000 and the $5 option.

So.. even after the long soak time, there were some pesticides baking soda couldn’t get to. Thiabendazole and phosmet, like many other substances, seep into the skin and flesh of the produce they’re applied to. There’s an upper limit to the amount that the fruit can absorb since the added chemicals will come to a maximum saturation level inside the cells, but none of it will come out in the wash. I’ll go out on a  limb and say the same would most likely apply to the $6000 pesticide removal. You can’t expect water to penetrate a fruit or vegetable skin that Nature designed to be water resistant.

 The bottom line.

Choose wisely. Not your pesticide removal device or method, but choose your fruit and vegetables wisely! (It’s pretty obvious that paying $5000 does even come into the realm of choosing wisely!)

What we all need is a pesticide consumption management strategy.
And for that, you’ll need to look beyond the organic aisle. Produce grown under organic conditions 
can still have pesticides. They may be just a different — and hopefully less toxic — set of them. But they’re still chemicals that can seep into your fruit through the skin or even leach into the flesh itself via the plant’s water supply, both of which prevent you from washing them away.

Best Strategy

The most accepted piece of advice here is to avoid riskier fruits, often known as the “Dirty Dozen.” The Environmental Working Group has claimed that switching to the organic versions of those 12 fruits and veggies could substantially improve your health. Yes, organic versions will generally contain fewer and less harmful chemicals, and there’s certainly no harm in eating organic, but even though it’s the best we have, EWG’s methodology is far from scientific. Their analysis relied on unproven theories about how pesticides might interact with one another, and so it has skewed results. A rebuttal in the Journal of Toxicology found that EWG didn’t even attempt to estimate pesticide exposure in the first place, and that “substitution of organic forms of the twelve commodities for conventional forms does not result in any appreciable reduction of consumer risks.”

In other words: science does not back up the Dirty Dozen advice. But it’s your money; you can eat organic if you want to.

How worried are you about those pesticides in the first place? $6 or $6000 worried?

That same Journal of Toxicology analysis discovered the levels of pesticides detected in the so-called Dirty Dozen all fell outside the acceptable limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency. And we’re not talking just slightly outside the limit. The allowable dose for methamidophos on bell peppers was 49.5 times higher than the actual amount of pesticide, and that was the fruit with the highest exposure. Many of them came 1,000-or 30,000-fold under the legal limit.

So legal limits aren’t infallible. Human exposures and their bodily impacts are difficult to study (and often under-studied). Most of the time we simply don’t know how a particular pesticide might affect us. If the EPA bases their acceptable limit on faulty science, it may overestimate how much exposure we can tolerate. And that’s assuming that the EPA is even doing their job properly in the first place. (This is the agency being gutted of funds right now by Mr. Trump!)

Trusting the EPA

If you’re still not sure — maybe you don’t trust the EPA, or you think pesticides haven’t been studied well enough (both perfectly fair points) — try going to your local farmer’s market like we do. We talk to the grower.. we have become friends -and the market manager actually visits the farms and checks on their certification and compliance.

We are SO lucky! And yes, there is a choice. Some cheaper fruits and vegetables are openly stated as non-organic. Enough people don’t care to make these growers get up early on Friday morning to get the market, just like the organic growers.

Outside of the markets, it’s hard to ignore the fact that like anything relatively unsupervised, some fruits and veggies in some outlets with organic labeling simply are not. Yes, they cheat.

 So even if like us, you believe that food determines health, and that food needs to be clean to be healthy.. you might still want to do an extra baking soda wash just to be sure.

But buying a water ionizer for $5000 more than our Ultrastream so you can wash your veggies?
ROTFL! (Rolling On The Floor Laughing!)

~ Ian

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