A Costa Rican banana worker carries a stalk of freshly harvested fruit on a plantation in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas that Americans eat are grown.
September 24, 2013 Bananas are the most popular fruit in America, and demand is growing worldwide, too. But growing bananas requires a lot of pesticides. And a new study shows that some of those chemicals are ending up in caimans living downstream from banana plantations in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas that Americans eat are grown.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/225793450/225842886" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
A cornfield is shrouded in mist at sunrise in rural Springfield, Neb.
September 17, 2013 Farmers say they need to produce food as efficiently as possible in order to feed the world. It's high-tech agriculture's claim to the moral high ground in the debate over how best to grow food. But is it true?
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/221376803/223309072" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Farmworkers harvest and package cantaloupes near Firebaugh, Calif.
July 18, 2013 Pesticides carry warning labels that spell out health risks and how workers should protect themselves — but those labels are usually in English. More than 80 percent of the workers in the "salad bowls" of Salinas, Calif., or Yuma, Ariz., are Hispanic. Many have difficulty communicating in English.
Beekeepers demonstrate at the EU headquarters in Brussels Monday, as lawmakers vote on whether to ban pesticides blamed for killing bees.
Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images
April 29, 2013 Three popular pesticides are being banned in the European Union, where officials are hoping the change helps restore populations of honey bees, vital to crop production, to healthy levels.
Apples made the top of the list for produce containing pesticide residue, but how much is unsafe?
June 19, 2012 Consumers get agitated when they see apples, celery and red peppers singled out for containing the most pesticide residue. Scientists say it's not such a big deal because the pesticide levels are extremely low.
One class of insecticides makes an entire corn plant poisonous to many insects that feed on it, including bees.
March 29, 2012 Two new studies, published in the prestigious journal Science, suggest that one class of insecticides poses a more serious threat to bees than government regulators realized.
Bedbug insecticide products are displayed at a bedbug summit in Illinois.
Brian Kersey/Getty Images
September 23, 2011 Some people are taking bedbug control into their own hands, buying and administering pesticides in their homes. But a report from the CDC that dozens people have been sicked from overusing or misusing the chemicals.
Kevin Gomes shops for produce at Pacifica Farmers Market in Pacifica, Calif., in March.
July 20, 2011 A solid majority of American say they prefer to eat organic over non-organic food. But the fondness for organic food isn't universal. Older people don't care for it nearly as much as the rest of the population. And the cost of organic food is an issue.
Sugarsnap peas are ready for harvest at the Many Hands Organic Farm in Barre, Mass., in the summer of 2009.
June 17, 2011 A recently released report on pesticide residues found that about 20 percent of organic lettuce tested positive for pesticides. How could that be? We talked with the University of Minnesota's Jeff Gillman about the state of organic farming.
A pesticide sprayer rolls through an apple orchard.
June 13, 2011 An advocacy group came up with a shopping guide for consumers concerned about pesticide residues in produce. The group's "Dirty Dozen" is headlined by apples, celery and strawberries. The fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticides were led by onions, sweet corn and pineapples.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor