Pesticides and Potatoes
Pesticides in spuds:
There sure are a lot of pesticides used in the cultivation of non-organic
potatoes. 2,4-D is the tip of the iceberg A good database on the pesticide
use specifics by state is the USDA NASS Ag Chem Usage Field Crops survey.
You can find it on the Cornell Univ Gopher at:
or the USDA website?? I think
Anyway, then we (EWG) have all the data available on what ends up on the
food after it is harvested and the latest best data is from the USDA
Pesticide Data Program (now defunded by COngress) which in its last report
found 78% of the potatoes tested had one or more detected pesticide
residues and 24 total pesticides found in 694 potato samples analyzed.
The USDA PDP 1994 (the latest) found:
2,4-D on 4.3% of the samples tested for that compound.
Chloropropham 66% (The most commonly detected pesticide on potatoes)
DDT was found on 3.8% of samples
DDE 9.5% of samples
Dieldrin 11.1% of samples
Endosulfans 12.1% of samples
Phorate metabolites on 4.3%
Many others were found on less than 1% of the samples tested.
This report may be available on the USDA website. It is out of the Ag.
Marketing Service (AMS). A lot of the pesticide total use is in defoliants
used to burn down teh plants above ground before harvest. This stuff
doesn't seem to stick as much as the old pesticides DDT, Dieldrin get
soaked up by the spuds and the post harvest growth inhibitors and
fungicides, chloropropham, OPP, thiabendazole which are still on the
potatoes when they get to market.
Bill Duesing wrote:
>A few questions about growing potatoes by conventional (for the past few
>decades at least) methods.
>Does anyone know the typical practices (chemicals) used?
>I was amazed years ago when National Geographic showed a large potato field in
>the NW being sprayed with 2,4-D to make harvesting easier. The maker of the
>fungicide Ridomil claims that it protects the potatoes in transit and market.
>(What about in our stomachs?)
>What other chemicals lurk in those spuds?
>Is the genetically-engineered BT in Monsanto's potato creation present in the
>tubers or just expressed in the leaves?
Kert Davies ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP
1718 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20009
EWG web page: http://www.ewg.org
202-667-6982 fax 202-232-2592
Any opinions expressed are mine and not my employer's.