The E-P-A, the Environmental Protection Agency, reports that approximately 70 pesticides now in use are ‘probable’ or ‘possible’ cancer-causing agents. In addition to being sprayed on fruits and vegetables, they’re also used on grains that are fed to cattle, chickens, and other livestock. These chemicals may lodge in the animals’ tissues and milk, which are ingested by humans. Some studies have suggested that exposure to low levels of pesticides for long periods of time can cause breast cancer. Women who avoid eating animal products altogether have been shown to have much smaller concentrations of pesticides in their breast milk. Another way to avoid pesticides or limit your exposure to them is to purchase organic produce. Once available only at ‘health food’ stores and markets, many big supermarket chains now carry organic produce, grains, and processed foods, such as breads, which are made with organic products. Laws vary from state to state as to what can be labeled ‘organic,’ so check to find out what your local laws are. To avoid pesticide contamination, peel and wash all fruits and vegetables, although some chemicals can’t be washed away. Use a vegetable scrub brush on foods whose outer peel you’re going to eat. Even though the U-S doesn’t ban the use of pesticides in agriculture, it does have the highest standards concerning their use, so you may want to limit or avoid consuming produce brought in from other countries.

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