Most people know that organic fruit and vegetables are a healthier and more natural alternative to the mass-produced food you encounter at grocery stores.  But few are aware of just what types of chemicals are commonly found within inorganic foods.  For those who are thinking of making the switch to the organic food lifestyle, here’s a closer look at the chemicals you’ll be avoiding:


Glyphosate: More commonly known by the brand name Roundup, Glyphosate is the world’s most famous herbicide.  The massive agricultural technology company Monsanto developed this pesticide to work exclusively with crops they have genetically modified to withstand its effects, meaning that the majority of the corn and soy you find in stores has traces of Glyphosate residue on it.  Glyphosate residue is mostly safe for human consumption, but one study has suggested a correlation between Glyphosate and birth defects when ingested in large quantities.

Chlorpyrifos: This is one of the most commonly used pesticide in the world today, and its residue is commonly found on produce like apples, oranges, corn, and almonds.  Exposure to Chlorpyrifos can be dangerous for pregnant women, as it has been linked to delayed mental development for children who were exposed to it in the womb. Studies have also shown links between Chlorpyrifos and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Carbaryl: This is a scary one.  Carbaryl is a powerful pesticide that is banned in countries like the UK, Germany, and Sweden.  Despite this, Carbaryl ranks third among the most-used pesticides in the United States.  Carbaryl kills its targeted pests like aphids effectively, but also is deadly to bee populations whose pollination is essential to healthy agriculture.  Carbaryl can also cause headaches and nausea in humans, and is found on a variety of produce from peaches to celery.

Captan: Appearance is everything.  At least that’s what the farmers who use Captan believe. This fungicide helps produce ward off naturally occurring diseases, but also can help make fruits like strawberries and apples brighter and those more likely to catch the eyes of shoppers in grocery stores.  Despite its beautifying effects, Captan is a known carcinogen for humans.

o-Phenylphenol: This chemical doubles as both a fungicide and a preservative.  It is most commonly found on produce like pears, green beans, and oranges.  While it may help keep your food from spoiling, o-Phenylphenol is a known carcinogen, hormone disrupter, and can cause birth defect in unborn fetuses. What a trio!

The best way to avoid chemicals like the ones listed above is to opt for organic foods at the grocery store.  While they don’t taste any different, the knowledge that you’re limiting your exposure to these harmful chemicals is delicious in its own right.




Doug Antkowiak is a freelance writer from Seattle, WA. He loves the smell of fresh cut grass and the taste of organic vegetables.

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