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Cocktail of Pesticides in Almost All Oranges and Grapes, UK Study Finds

Traces of 122 different pesticides in 12 most polluted fruit and veg products, many with links to cancer

Almost all grapes and oranges contain a “cocktail of pesticides” according to research, which has singled out the most polluted fruit and vegetables in our shopping trolleys.

Each year, the government tests samples of groceries for chemicals to see if traces can be found in Britain’s food.

The official figures, analysed by Pesticide Action Network (PAN), found 122 different pesticides in the 12 most polluted products, which the charity calls the “dirty dozen”. Many of these are hazardous to human health; 61% are classified as highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs), a concept used by the UN to identify those substances most harmful to human health or the environment.

The list of pesticides includes 47 with links to cancer, 15 “reproductive or developmental toxins” that can have adverse effects on sexual function and fertility, and 17 cholinesterase inhibitors that can impair the respiratory system and cause confusion, headaches and weakness. A quarter of the pesticides found are suspected endocrine disruptors that can interfere with hormone systems, causing an array of health problems including birth defects and developmental disorders.