The Dirty Dozen Fruits and Vegetables in New York
April 28, 2022 | Environmental Litigation
Most likely, produce laced with high levels of pesticides are in your pantry or refrigerator at this very moment.
Once again, spinach and strawberries topped the list of fruits and vegetables that contain the highest pesticide levels.
Collard greens, mustard greens, nectarines, apples, grapes, bell peppers, hot peppers, peaches, pears, cherries, celery, and tomatoes rounded out the dirty dozen list.
Experts suggested that people eat organic versions of these foods whenever possible. “Several peer-reviewed studies and clinical trials have looked at what happens when people switch to a fully organic diet,” remarked noted toxicologist Alexis Temkin. “Concentrations and measurements of pesticides decrease very rapidly” in these cases, she added.
In case you’re wondering, avocados, followed by sweet corn, pineapple, onions and papayas, topped the clean fifteen list of least-contaminated foodstuffs.
Nationwide, farmers, mostly large corporate farmers, use over one billion pounds of pesticides every year, mostly to make their crops more appealing to consumers, visually and otherwise.
Younger children and older adults are especially vulnerable to the health hazards of powerful pesticides. Anything strong enough to kill insects is probably strong enough to at least hurt people, especially if they are from a vulnerable population group. These effects could be:
- Acute: These effects, which occur upon exposure, include nausea, rashes, trouble breathing, and temporary or permanent blindness. Acute effects are often life-threatening for people with asthma and other pre-existing conditions.
- Chronic: Long-term effects of pesticide exposure, even at small levels, include birth defects, cancer, reproductive issues, and developmental delays. These illnesses could affect anyone, regardless of age or health condition. Usually, the body cannot properly dispose of toxins, like pesticides. So, these chemicals remain in the body for many years.
Direct exposure is not the only problem. Pesticides, especially soil fumigants, seep into the groundwater supply.
Other types of pesticides, which are just as dangerous, include carbamates and organophosphates, which are basically nerve gasses, and synthesized pyrethroids, which are even more powerful and persistent than other kinds of pesticides.
By their nature, all pesticides are endocrine disruptors.
They block or mimic the hormones which are necessary for metabolism and other important bodily functions. That’s how they kill plants, that’s how they kill insects, and that’s how they harm people.
Children are especially vulnerable because their bodies, especially their internal organs, are still developing.
As a result, they’re even less able to excrete and/or detoxify pesticides. Additionally, children have more skin in proportion to their body size, and pesticides often absorb through the skin. Furthermore, children breathe faster and eat more, in proportion to their body weight, than adults.
Either acute or chronic pesticide exposure could cause serious injuries. In either case, the average hospital bill could exceed $50,000. Some chronic illness medical bills, like cancer treatment expenses, could be considerably higher.
To obtain compensation for these injuries, a New York personal injury attorney has basically two legal options.
Groundwater and other indirect exposure claims are often public nuisance claims.
This legal theory is quite effective when a single event hurts a large number of people at once.
Usually, our legal team uses the public nuisance theory to obtain compensation for victims of the opioid epidemic. These victims include not only individuals but also the cities, counties, and other government entities forced to pay for additional services they couldn’t really afford.
Public nuisance is an effective theory, but these claims have lots of moving parts. Therefore, only the most experienced lawyers should handle these matters.
Direct pesticide exposure cases often use a defective product theory. Manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their defective products cause. The pesticide defect could be a:
- Design Defect: As mentioned, pesticides are designed to kill organic life. In their rush to build a better mousetrap and make more money, many pesticide producers made products with dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals. Producers had an opportunity to pull the plug and prevent injury, but they sold a dangerous product anyway.
- Manufacturing Defect: Hazardous and unstable chemicals require special handling during manufacturing, shipment, and storage. A breakdown in any area could cause toxic by-products, like NDMA, to form. These unwanted add-ons make pesticides which were safe when they were designed dangerous for people to use.
In addition to compensatory damages for things like medical bills and emotional distress, our New York personal injury attorneys are usually able to obtain additional punitive damages in these cases.
As outlined above, produce makers usually intentionally disregard known risks in these situations.
Pesticides don’t only kill pests. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC. We routinely handle these matters on a nationwide basis.
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