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Peaches and Pesticides- Eating Local Not Always Healthier

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Peaches and Pesticides- Eating Local Not Always Healthier

It’s been a week since I last posted anything.  My 40th birthday was absolutely amazing and I had so many fun things to write about.  I posted about Julia Child.  I posted about the awesome gift my husband got for me.  And my last upload was a picture of my youngest eating a peach at a local farm.  The post titled “Just Peachy Birthday Adventure” is the reason I have not posted.

bucks county peaches Peaches and Pesticides  Eating Local Not Always Healthier
I bought a whole case of peaches to can (preserving, my latest obsession!) It turns out I’m not feeling so peachy after-all!

The day after we went to a local Bucks County farm to buy peaches, my 6 year old son started to “tic’ again.  Let me mention that he has not had any issues since last spring when he went on Singulair (READ ABOUT THAT HERE).  This time he was blinking his eyes and rolling them constantly. He also wasn’t able to focus.  He was sort of out of it. He wasn’t on any medicines and nothing had really changed around here.  I racked my brain on what could have triggered this.  Yes, two weeks before school starts and my perfectly healthy sweet boy starts having crazy weird symptoms.  My heart was breaking in a million pieces.

I also had to take my 3 year old into the Dr. for a gooey eye Friday worried she may have pink eye.  The Dr. gave us some drops just in case it was, but said it could have been some sort of virus.  She was a little congested and was saying “my neck hurts!”  I mentioned to the nurse while I was at the Pediatrician that I noticed my son starting to blink and do weird eye things and she said allergies or rag weed could trigger tics and he may just be prone to them.  She said to just keep an eye on him.  On Saturday night, we were at our neighbor’s for dinner.   His tics were so bad wet came home early.

Sunday morning he wet the bed (which he hasn’t done in ages!)  I called our Dr. I was so worried and she actually came in on a Sunday (because she is AWESOME like that!) She tested both my son and my youngest for Strep.  The Strep test was done because there was some concern that he may have had PANDAS in the spring.  Well, the Strep test was negative for both and thankfully because PANDAS is not an easy thing to deal with from what I hear.

On Monday, we went to Lab Corp with our RX for some bloodwork- CBC, ASO and checked Vit D levels.  I held my boy on my lap while he screamed.  I tried to amuse him with angry birds on my iPhone (didn’t work!) and just talked to him about which Ninjago guy he was going to pick out for being so brave.  Then, we went home.

After racking my brain about where and what we were doing before Cole’s tics started, I kept thinking of peaches.  Maybe he is allergic to peaches?  Then, I proceeded after a tiring morning to can those stinking peaches.   I had to jar them- they were starting to get fuzzy and rot!  I grudgingly canned 6  jars of peaches.  I peeled them, pitted them, sliced them, made the syrup, popped them in the jars and and put them in the pot of water for 30 minutes.  All the jars sealed except one that bent funny and weird.  It was misery canning them because I was secretly hating the peaches.  I didn’t know why, but I hated them.  And in the back of my head the whole time I’m canning I’m thinking, “is it the peaches?”  “They are on the dirty dozen list!”

Ah Hah- maybe those peaches were sprayed with pesticides!  I was then up Monday night until 3:00 am researching pesticides.
Here were my Google searches:

Farms in Bucks County Organic?
____ Farm Pesticide Use
Does ____Farm spray with pesticides?
Bucks County Farms- Pesticide Use
Can Pesticides cause tics in kids
Pesticides and peaches
Side Effects from Pesticides
Organic Farms Bucks County, Pa
Neurologic side effects from pesticides

I found nothing on ____ saying they were organic.  I looked at a lot of research on pesticide poisoning and read a lot about Organophosphates.   One study in particular looked at a rural farm town where kids were regularly exposed to pesticides. Their IQs were lower and they had a higher rate of ADHD.  Other research I found online linked pesticides to tics and neurologic complications.

Anyway, I called _____ farm first thing Tuesday morning as I had to know for certain if they had recently sprayed.  Did they spray the day we were there?  I had to know if they used nasty pesticides on what appeared to be perfect peaches. Pesticides are and can be a trigger for kids prone to tics.
I asked, “Could you please tell me if you use pesticides on your farm?”
The woman on the other end of the phone said, “We do spray, but not too close to picking time.”    She confirmed that they DO SPRAY.  
I asked when the last time was that they sprayed and she said she “did not know.”I asked how long did they wait before picking after spraying she said she “didn’t know.”
I proceeded to tell her that as a Mom I really needed some questions answered.  I told her about my son and that he had recently had issues in the spring with a “transient tic disorder” that could be triggered by chemicals & pesticides. I told her we walked around the farm looking at the pretty peach trees and flowers and ate peaches on our way home from the farm (washed only briefly in their back sink.) I told her they were delicious and we ate more peaches when we got home.  I told her how happy I was that my son had a great summer with no issues and the only thing I could think of that we did different is visit her farm and eat peaches.
She proceeded to say, “All I can tell you is that we do use pesticides and that could indeed be the culprit.”
I thanked her for being honest and hung up.  I can’t believe I assumed this local family farm didn’t use pesticides.  I guess eating local isn’t always healthier.
So, I think I have found the trigger.  I can’t be sure, but I’m horrified.  Horrified that I was just trying to take my kids to a farm to see where our food comes from.  MAD that I didn’t ask if they used pesticides.  AND SAD that my boy is having crazy symptoms from possible pesticide exposure.  And who knows maybe my littlest had a gooey eye and sore throat from visiting that farm.  I feel like Erin Brokovich discovering the bad water in that town causing cancer.
Yesterday, my Pediatrician called with the lab results.  CBC normal, ASO normal (thank God!) And as I’m staring at a Vitamin D book on my kitchen counter (that I was sent to review a few days ag0) our Dr. proceeds to tell me that my son’s vitamin D is low.  It was like that book was a sign from God before the lab results even came in.
I told her about my call to the farm and she said that between having a low vitamin D level and possible pesticide exposure no wonder he’s having issues.  I told her that he was doing much better  (probably because whatever triggered this is leaving his system.)  I am now giving my son high doses of Vit D to bring his levels up and I skipped the sunscreen today.  We retest in a month (he has no idea!)  Now it makes me wonder was it the low Vit D that caused the tics or the peaches.  But because this came on so suddenly (not slowly at all)  my gut says that the pesticide exposure was my son’s trigger. Maybe the low Vit D just didn’t help him deal with it. Hmm….

AND I now have 6 cans of peaches I don’t want to eat and I hate to waste food.  They are skinned and processed and they will probably be okay for my husband and I to eat?  Right? I won’t allow my kids to have them for sure.  I feel an organic food obsession coming on.

Would you eat the peaches I canned?  What would you do with them?


 Peaches and Pesticides  Eating Local Not Always Healthier

Diva Dietitian

Kristie Finnan is a Registered Dietitian/Licensed Nutritionist, Freelance Writer and Published Children's Author. She is the Mom of 3 and Food Snob with a passion for Nutrition Education, Healthy Kids Foods, Marketing and Social Media. Kristie is the Creative Director/Editor for www.DivaDietitian.com and www.KidsLoveFood.com & Founder of www.DoylestownNutrition.com. Diva Dietitian blogs in Full Disclosure. Please see: http://kristiefinnan.com/about/disclosure.

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  • Jessica says:

    I love peaches! I also know that they are on near the top of the dirty dozen list so I only buy them when I can find them organic. This summer I began calling every local farmer that I found on local harvest and in the directory to ask if they sprayed and without fail every single one said that they sprayed. They said there is no way to get around it in our area. So sadly, I gave up my hopes of buying bushels and preserving them. With Cole’s health issues and with kids in general I wouldn’t chance it if I was you, but that’s just my opinion.

    • Thanks Jessica. I can’t believe I didn’t ask! No more assuming over here. I should have known they were sprayed as they were so beautiful. It has also been such a bad season for bugs so I should have known. I value your opinion so much and am so thankful you left a comment :) He does seem to be doing MUCH better yesterday and today- thankfully!

  • Heather Gambrell says:

    I wouldn’t eat the peaches. It’s not worth your health. It sucks you spent so much time and energy on them, but if you suspect the peaches, don’t eat them. There’s a few studies out about how what we eat can affect future generations of our family’s DNA. If you plan anymore children, or think an accidental pregnancy is posible, then don’t eat them for sure.

  • Susie says:

    Give them to a food bank???
    I like my peaches a little messy, meaning that I like bug spots and bruises, and weird leakages. If they’re wormy even better. If a bug or worm can stay alive, so can I ;)
    Thanks Kristy, for posting this story. You are a great mom and keep up the good work!

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