A chemical used on most non-organic American apples that preserves the fruit’s color after harvest was banned by the European Union in 2012 because its makers could not prove it did not put human health at risk, according to a new study.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found in 2010 that 80 percent of apples harvested in the United States are coated with diphenylamine, or DPA, a “growth regulator” that works to stave off darkening of the fruit’s skin during months of cold storage.
DPA, regulated as a pesticide, has been used in the US since 1962. The USDA has reported that DPA residue is found more often and at greater concentrations that most other pesticide residues. The chemical has been detected in apple juice and applesauce, as well as pears and pear baby food. In fact, the USDA has consistently found that apples are one of the most pesticide-treated products in the American produce market.