New Delhi: You might want to rethink the advice that green vegetables are good for you. A new study by the NGO Consumer Voice on 35 different vegetables from potatoes to tomatoes, lady’s fingers to brinjals shows high doses of banned pesticides.
Major quantities of pesticides that have been banned worldwide and here in India were found in bitter gourd and spinach with several other vegetables also contaminated.
“We did a random check. Out of 27 banned substances, we just checked for five. What was alarming was that out of five banned substances, four were found. It means their use is illegal and they shudn’t be found in the market. Whereas they have been found in almost all fruit and veggies,” said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director, CSE.
The hazards these pesticides pose include cancer, kidney, liver and lung damage and it can even cause serious neurological problems.
“Some of these pesticides have been banned for decades actually. Ethyl Parathion for example, was banned in 1990s. This means that there is still a huge amount of these pesticides in the black market, which is being provided to the farmers and they are using it,” said Ashim Sanyal, Consumer Voice.
According to the Consumer Voice study, the amount of pesticides in some of the vegetables was up to 750 times when compared to the European standard.
“In some cases they are within the Indian levels laid down by law but some of them are 100s of times higher than the EU norms. That draws our attention to why are Indian levels so high? For instance, for cauliflower the EU limit is 20ppb. And Indian levels are 3000ppb,” said Sriram Khanna, Consumer Voice.
Poor regulation unfortunately leaves consumers with little option.
Experts advice the best you can do is to make sure to wash your vegetables very carefully and make sure they're well-cooked.
The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the state and the Central government to reply to its notice on this issue by December 1.