Pesticide exposure limits vary greatly between countries. Pesticides are widely found in foods and their levels are regulated in many countries under a system of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs). In Australia, this is administered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), a body that receives all of its funding from industry.
MRLs are set by establishing levels not likely to be exceeded during normal application of the chemical. Chemical levels are tested individually – rarely if ever, in combination with other chemicals applied simultaneously.
Unfortunately, MRLs by themselves do not guarantee that your health will be protected and the notion that a substance suddenly becomes safe below a specific level is simple-minded. This is reinforced by some remarkable MRL discrepancies across jurisdictions. For the use of the organochlorine dicofol on strawberries, Australia’s MRL is 1mg/kg; New Zealand applies 3mg/kg; and in the US the limit is 10mg/kg. In Europe, where it is banned, a figure of 0,02mg/kg has been set.
You can read more about what happens to chemicals once they are ingested by our body at: www.wellbeing.com.au The above article “The Body Burden” by Martin Oliver, appeared in Issue 144.