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By Maryam Henein, HoneyColony

Europe is rejecting our iconic fruit, the apple, as poisonous. What does that say about the nation?

The American apple, pollinated by no other than the honey bee, may look perfect, pretty, and red on the outside, but chances are it’s because this fruit has been dipped, drenched, or sprayed with a chemical called diphenylamine.

Just this past April, the European Union officially banned US-grown apples. Now, the Environmental Working Group is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt the use of a diphenylamine applied to conventionally grown apples to limit storage damage until EPA has done further safety studies.

Also known as DPA, this chemical, which is considered a carcinogen, got its start in the rubber industry and in lubricants. Today, it’s also used as a post-harvest, plant growth regulator to control storage scald on apples. Basically this poison is being used like fruit makeup, even though it’s dangerous to the environment, including aquatic animals, and may also cause long-term adverse effects.

Federal tests show that the chemical was found on 80 percent of apples in the U.S. in 2010. So not only are apples systemically treated and killing bees, they are also doused with chemicals to prevent their natural aging process.

“The EC officials banned outright any further use of DPA on the apples cultivated in the European Union until they are confident it is safe. Europe’s action should cause American policymakers to take a new look at this chemical,” said EWG senior scientist Sonya Lunder in a press release.

The limit in Europe is 0.1 ppm. In the United States of America, however, we are exposed to 100 times that amount or 10 ppm. That’s because, according to the EPA, there is a “reasonable certainty of no harm.” Basically the EPA is saying we’re kind of sure DPA isn’t harmful to our health.

Of particular concern to the European authorities was the fact that DPA is thought to combine with nitrogen on the surface of apples to produce nitrosamines, a cancer-causing group of chemical compounds.

EWG’s analysis of DPA and apples says that, according to USDA, Americans eat nearly 10 pounds per person of raw apples every year. Consequently, even low levels of nitrosamines on raw apples, or in apple juice and applesauce, could potentially pose a risk to human health.

And slowly we are tricked into eating the poison without a clue. Thanks, but I’d rather not expose myself to any chemicals if I don’t need to. Eat organic. It may cost you more upfront, but it’s an investment in your health.

Maryam Henein is an investigative journalist, professional researcher, and producer of the award-winning documentary Vanishing of the Bees.

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