School of Health Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy
pesticides, pesticide residues, health effects of pesticides, consumer awareness of pesticides, pesticides on apples, pesticide detection, organics, natural pesticides, pesticide tolerance levels
Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health
Thies, Mary Carolyn, "An Apples-To-Apples Comparative Study: Differences in Residual Pesticide Concentrations on Fuji Apples, How These Pesticides Are Associated with Chronic Disease, and Implications for Consumer Awareness" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4679.
Fresh produce items lack specific pesticide labeling, leaving consumers unaware of the pesticide residue content that remains on both conventional and organic produce. Transparency in labeling fruits and vegetables could supplement consumer knowledge about the health dangers of dietary pesticide ingestion. The current study examined Fuji apple samples collected by farming operations in the United States in 2016. This study compared three types of pesticides: Diphenylamine, Fludioxonil, and Thiabendazole, to understand if there was a difference in the level of residue left behind, depending on the type of pesticide used. The residue concentration levels were compared by analyzing data captured by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and stored in the Pesticide Data Program (PDP) sample archive. These data from the most recent (2016) sample collection were analyzed using the software Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 188.8.131.52. The multivariate Kruskal-Wallis test was used to evaluate differences after assessing data normality. While all of the samples contained some residue, the statistical test result showed no significant difference by type, among the residual pesticide concentration levels for the three compared pesticides. In an effort to raise consumer awareness, this research also identified and discussed pervasive health hazards related to long-term dietary exposure to pesticides. The study considered emerging, innovative alternatives to current pesticide management practices and applications. More studies are needed to evaluate pesticide residues that make their way onto the plates of unsuspecting customers, especially for the most vulnerable in our population, who may have limited options. Public policy should require specific pesticide labeling for both organic and conventional produce.