- Photographed with an optical microscope, chlordane, introduced
in 1945, is widely used to control termites and soil-borne insects. Another
reason to watch what you eat has re-emerged. Banned by the Environmental
Protection Agency since 1988, the pesticide chlordane is showing up in
fresh vegetable produce, according to a study published in the May 15 edition
of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. http://pubs.acs.org/journals/jafcau/index.html
- Chlordane was used extensively for 40 years to combat
ticks and as an insecticide in agriculture. The hazardous chemical has
an alarming capacity to remain in the environment years after it is introduced
and is turning up in crops across the country.
- In the study, all 12 of the vegetables grown in soil
with weathered chlordane absorbed some of the compound, said Mary Jane
Incorvia Mattina, head of the of the department of analytical chemistry
at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. http://www.state.ct.us/caes/
- Most susceptible to high concentrations of the pesticide
were root vegetables including carrots, beets and potatoes. Smaller amounts
were found in the edible portions of beans and eggplant. Tomatoes, peppers
and corn absorbed chlordane at their roots, but the chemical not transfer
to the parts of the vegetables usually consumed by humans.
- Carrots are among the root vegetables susceptible to
high concentrations of chlordane. Even certified organic vegetables contain
chlordane, Mattina points out, since the pesticide can linger in the environment
for nearly 40 years after it is applied.
- High levels of chlordane can cause damage to the nervous
system and liver. The pesticide is considered a carcinogen by scientists
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Although an individual would have to eat a million carrots
in a lifetime to build up a dangerous level of chlordane, Mattina strongly
recommends washing produce before it is consumed.
- Peeling vegetables can also reduce their chlordane content,
she added, but only "deep plowing" to reduce the amount of chlordane
in the soil can prevent absorption.
- Chlordane is still used extensively in Asia, but Mattina
believes ongoing international efforts will lead to a permanent ban of
the pesticide throughout the world.
- Copyright 2000, Environmental News Network All Rights
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
Site Served by TheHostPros