In case you didn’t know, watermelons that grow in Eastern China have been ruptured and have been given an overdose of chemicals which induce growth during wet weather. This leads to the creation of the fields of land mines.
Forchlorfenuron was the chemical which farmers use hoping that the watermelons will grow bigger and will bring more profit.
This affected about 20 farmers in Jiangsu province and they lost to 115 acres of watermelons.
What is Forchlorfenuron?
This is a cytokine which makes the fruits larger, it improves the fruit set, cluster weight, and also cold storage of kiwifruits and grapes.
Wang Liangju, who is a professor at Nanjing Agricultural University says that this chemical is safe for use when used properly.
Furthermore, he provided an explanation that this chemical was used too late in the season and that heavy rain increased the risk of an explosion. He also stated that the type of melon contributes to this. He says that if this chemical had been used on a fruit which was very young, there wouldn’t be a problem. Additionally, this type of melon is nicknamed thin-ring and that these watermelons have a tendency to split.
Chinese regulations do not forbid this drug, and it is also allowed for use in the USA on grapes and kiwi fruits. Nevertheless, there are reports that a number of Chinese farmers abuse illegal and legal chemicals and that they are also using fertilizers and pesticides in the wrong way.
Is Forchlorfenuron Safe?
There is an EPA pesticide fact sheet and it reports:
- Decreased litter sizes in rats and higher pup mortality
- A little higher levels of toxicity in the avian population
- Medium toxicity to freshwater fish
How can you tell if the fruit is grown with pesticides or hormones?
According to the Environmental Working Group, approximately two-thirds of all of the tested produce samples (3,015) contained pesticide residue. There were 165 different pesticides on a very large number of vegetable and fruit samples.
Watermelons which are hormone-grown will have display cracks on the inner part. This is an obvious sign that it grew way faster that it was supposed to.
The produce which showed the highest pesticide levels were:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
The following produce are the least likely to contain pesticides:
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Sweet potato
One sign that the fruit is grown with help of pesticides is lack of flavor. However, florchlorfenuron is not the only hormone which is used for stimulating growth. Oxytocin has also been used in India, where it is banned. However, it can be found in pesticide and fertilizer vendors.
Additionally, ethylene is also used and it might contain traces of calcium carbide and arsenic, which can cause a number of health issues.
Therefore, purchasing organic produce is for the best. By doing this, you minimize the chances of being exposed to pesticides. Nevertheless, make sure to thoroughly wash the produce, whether it be conventional or organic.