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We Can Eat Our Vegetables, Without Risk

We Can Eat Our Vegetables, Without Risk

To the Editor:

The warning issued by Consumers Union concerning the dangers of pesticide residues on American-grown produce confuses real risks with hypothetical ones (news article, Feb. 19). The report will inspire needless fear, despite the group's protestations to the contrary.

Americans do not consume enough fruits and vegetables now to receive the many well-known health benefits of the well-rounded diet recommended by all reputable experts in nutrition. No child (or adult) has ever been harmed by eating any amount of fruits and vegetables produced using approved, regulated pesticides.

GILBERT L. ROSS , M.D. New York, Feb. 19, 1999

The writer is medical director, American Council on Science and Health.

To the Editor:

"High Pesticide Levels Seen in U.S. Food" (news article, Feb. 19) reports on how consumers can pick their way through produce to avoid pesticide exposure.

Rather than focusing on which vegetables wear the black hats, so to speak, the prominent message should be to seek out organically grown produce, a message buried in your article.

Worse still, the guidance that pesticide exposure "can be reduced" by buying organically grown produce undersells the fact that organic produce carries virtually no pesticide residue because no toxic products are used in its creation. More important, organic farming also saves our environment.

THOMAS O'BRIEN Charlottesville, Va., Feb. 19, 1999

The writer is director for research, Horizon Institute for Policy Solutions.

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