The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has issued a new 2016 Shopping Guide, indicating that strawberries are now the most heavily contaminated item in the produce section. According to the report, 40 percent of all strawberries contained residues from at least 10 hazardous pesticides. Some of the compounds found on the strawberries included known carcinogens, which have been directly linked to developmental and reproductive harm, hormone disruption, and cognitive issues, reports the EWG.
Strawberries are a seasonal crop, but the use of chemicals and pesticides has allowed growers to produce strawberries year-round. In 2014, over 2.3 billion pounds of strawberries were harvested in California, which is the country’s biggest producer of strawberries.
Other items on the EWG’s list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables include apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
Pesticides are chemicals that are used to repel or exterminate insects that damage crops, infest buildings, or cause disease to humans. Although pesticides serve some useful purposes, recent public scrutiny has grown over whether pesticides pose a health risk that renders their benefits unjustifiable.
In addition to contamination through consuming pesticide-laden produce, these chemicals can also pose dangers to the workers who apply them on fields, in buildings, and elsewhere. Without proper warnings about how to administer the pesticides or the safety precautions that should be taken, a wide variety of injuries can result, including neurological damage and lung disease.
There are many other less obvious ways that you may be exposed to pesticides without even realizing it. Your landlord or office building manager may hire a pest control company to spray the premises, and many governments maintain pesticide-spraying programs at local parks and other public places. Individuals who live in agricultural areas may come into contact with pesticides through runoff or drift on windy days. Finally, groundwater pesticide contamination is increasingly common, affecting drinking, bathing, cleaning, and cooking.
Individuals who are exposed to pesticides and suffer adverse health consequences may be able to receive compensation for their injuries pursuant to a product liability action. Like almost all businesses, pesticide manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their products have been thoroughly tested and are reasonably safe for their intended uses. If a pesticide chemical ends up being more harmful than anticipated, and a consumer or member of the public experiences injuries as a result, the manufacturer may be held liable for these injuries.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as a result of food contamination, including either pesticides or foodborne illness, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, our toxic tort lawyers have counseled numerous individuals throughout the United States in matters involving product liability and food contamination, including in Florida, Illinois, Texas, and New York. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about the scope of your legal options and to determine the best course of action for you and your family. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your appointment.