While scientists and healthcare professionals continue to debate the safety of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers sprayed on conventionally grown produce, the natural products industry has developed a number of washes specifically formulated to clean up fruits and veggies. We wondered if these specialty cleansers were indeed as effective as water when it comes to removing potentially harmful chemicals from produce. Do you really need a fruit and vegetable wash, or are these products simply a marketing ploy intent on enticing you to spend more money on a problem that can be resolved with regular old tap water?

Pesticides: The Ugly Truth

According to the Environmental Working Group, a number of pesticides used in conventional farming are known endocrine disrupters. An endocrine disrupter can confuse and interfere with the body’s hormones and hormone production, which has been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty and slowed brain development. Atrazine, in particular, has been shown to contribute to the feminization of male frogs and is frequently sprayed on corn crops throughout the United States. Unfortunately, pesticides have been developed to withstand heavy rains and are, therefore, waterproof, which means tap water alone isn’t going to wash away any of these harmful chemicals. And because these pesticides are sprayed onto conventionally grown produce, it’s safe to say they’re prevalent in our soil and water systems too. Special fruit and vegetable washes are developed to remove these chemicals, ensuring the foods you put into your body are pesticide-free.

Buy Organic Whenever Possible

Although organic fruits and veggies lack the harmful synthetic fertilizers and pesticides reserved for conventionally grown agriculture, it’s important to wash these thoroughly too. Organic farmers often utilize manure from livestock as well as compost, which aren’t necessarily harmful to humans, but most likely isn’t something you’d want to eat. Organic produce is also completely free of the systemic pesticides that are used to keep conventional crops resistant to some insects and disease.

What About Regular Old Tap Water?

While it seems like tap water is an obvious and less expensive alternative for washing organically cultivated produce, keep in mind that your tap water contains numerous toxins too. Glyphosate, arsenic and chlorine are just a few of the chemicals found in everyday tap water that have been shown to be hazardous to your health, which is why we highly advocate using an all-natural fruit and vegetable wash and home water filtration system whenever possible.

Our Healthiest Advice

We recommend choosing organic over conventionally grown produce to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. Wash all fruits and veggies thoroughly, regardless of their origin with a specially formulated fruit and vegetable wash. And keep in mind that the small price you pay for a specialty produce wash may improve not only your peace of mind but your family’s overall health too.