8 ways to avoid nerve gas in your produce

Fruits and vegetables are good for us. We should eat lots of them.

Good thing we’ve got the Environmental Protection Agency watching out for us and keeping deadly chemicals off our produce … right?

Not so fast. Unfortunately, the efforts of the EPA are being thwarted, as government is paying more attention to chemical companies and their lobbyists these days than to our safety.

A history of deception continues

Decades ago, the nation’s biggest chemical companies were at work behind closed doors, lobbying for laws requiring flame retardants in the manufacture of furniture, bedding and children’s clothes.

Citizens for Fire Safety posed as a group of concerned citizens, when in reality it was composed of chemical companies protecting their profits, hiding the fact that flame retardants don’t save us, they kill us.

Today, they’ve gotten even bolder. No more hiding behind false fronts. They’re just using their big bank accounts and high-powered lawyers to get their way… no matter the cost to your health.

That’s why, despite the best efforts of the EPA, it looks like Dow Chemical Company will succeed at keeping chlorpyrifos, better known as Nerve Gas Pesticide, in your fruits, vegetables and drinking water.

Deadly chemical is on your produce

Chlorpyrifos was originally derived from a nerve gas developed by Nazi Germany. Scientific evidence compiled by the EPA links chlorpyrifos and other similar chemicals to pre-natal brain damage, tremors and reduced I.Q.s in children, as well as Parkinson’s disease, lung and breast cancer and impotence in adults.

Yet this very chemical has been used on our food crops, including soybeans, apples, corn, wheat and citrus fruit — for decades — to the tune of five to ten million pounds per year.

Most of this huge amount of chlorpyrifos is manufactured by Dow AgroSciences. And, that’s the root of the problem.

Politics over your health

The $800 billion chemical industry has a long history of paying its way out of regulation of its products. Now, however, their interests have invaded the very agencies meant to protect us.

The EPA was preparing to ban chlorpyrifos in agricultural and outdoor use this spring. But in March, the new head of the agency reversed this ban, bowing to pressure from Dow chemical lawyers, and effectively lifting all limits on the use of this poisonous chemical.

How to protect yourself

Now that it seems chlorpyrifos is here to stay, we must find ways to protect ourselves from ingesting or being exposed to it, and to undo some of the damage from the exposure to date.

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Consider supplementing with Nacetyl cysteine (NAC) and modified citrus pectin (MCP). Emergency room doctors use NAC to combat acetaminophen and pesticide poisoning. NAC is also liver-protective. MCP is a strong binding agent that pulls toxins out. It’s reported that when taken with Ginkgo biloba extract, this combination was effective at protecting mice from glyphosate toxicity (the pesticide used in Roundup®)
  2. Eat locally grown produce. Unfortunately, eating organic produce isn’t always a guarantee that you’re avoiding chlorpyrifos and other harmful pesticides. For example, the purity of organic food imported from China is questionable. Their certification processes seem to be inconsistent or less stringent, so it’s best not to choose organic produce from China.When you buy from local sources, at farmer’s markets or stores, you can have more direct contact with growers to determine what chemicals they may be using.
  1. Grow your own. It may be as simple as growing tomatoes on your deck, or, if you are more ambitious and have more space, planting a larger vegetable garden.
  2. Wash your produce in a solution of water, plus mild dish soap and/or vinegar.
  3. Know your fruits and vegetables. The “dirtiest”, most pesticide-treated include apples, strawberries, peppers and cucumbers. Here is a list of the “dirty dozen,” as well as the “clean fifteen” fruits and vegetables.
  4. Know your sources. Here are some fruits and veggies more likely to be tainted with chlorpyrifos and other chemicals, according to EWG:
    • Imported peaches from Chile (20 percent of samples tested positive)
    • Imported nectarines from Chile (13 percent of samples tested positive)
    • Imported bell peppers from Mexico (22 percent of samples tested positive)
    • Imported hot peppers from Mexico (15 percent of samples tested positive)
    • Domestic and imported cilantro (27 percent of samples tested positive)
  1. Use a water filter. Even the trace amounts of chlorpyrifos you consume in drinking water are harmful, especially as they accumulate over time.
  2. Be careful on the golf course. Although chlorpyrifos is banned for residential use, it may still be sprayed on golf courses. Wash your clothes and shower upon returning home, and leave your shoes at the door, or outside.


  1. Trump’s Legacy: Damaged Brains — The New York Times
  2. Why Has the E.P.A. Shifted on Toxic Chemicals? An Industry Insider Helps Call the Shots — The New York Times
  3. Prenatal Exposure to Insecticide Chlorpyrifos Linked to Alterations in Brain Structure and Cognition — Columbia University
  4. Dow Chemical is pushing Trump administration to ignore studies of toxic pesticide — Los Angeles Times
  5. Trump’s EPA undoes effort to ban pesticide linked to nervous system damage in kids — Los Angeles Times
  6. E.P.A.’s Decision Not to Ban Chlorpyrifos — The New York Times
  7. Dow Chemical urges Trump administration to ignore pesticide findings — USA Today
  8. What is Chlorpyrifos and How Do I Get Rid of It? — Wondercide Blog
  9. 12 Fruits and Veggies You Should Avoid (If Buying Non-Organic) — EcoWatch
  10. Don’t Want to Eat Pruitt’s Pesticide? Here’s What to Avoid — Environmental Working Group
  11. The Truth About Organic Foods from China — Dr. Axe
  12. Protective Effect of Ginkgo biloba L. Leaf Extract Against Glyphosate Toxicity in Swiss Albino Mice — Journal of Medicinal Food
Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.