Anyone born before World War II did not suffer the pesticide exposure in their youth the way that any post-War babies (now grown-up people) did. The group most likely affected by pesticides are the "baby boomers" as pesticide use was in full swing by the time that they were born.
The 1960s counter-culture wanted a return to more natural processes and it was the rebirth of organic (which it hadn't really been called before because most things were grown naturally). Babies born after that time to highly conscious mothers had the chance for less pesticide exposure but the truth is that we've all been poisoned by pesticides (and let's not forget herbicides, fungicides, and all other cides -- destined to kill something) in the air and water, if not in your food.
But it's not all doom and gloom. You can find out which foods are highest in pesticide residue and avoid them whenever possible. Read this article by The Organic Center to learn which vegetables to avoid.
Here's the list of domestic vegetables with the highest pesticide residues:
- Green beans
- sweet bell peppers
If you want to learn more you can also take a look at The Environmental Working Group's recently released guide to pesticides and download it to your phone or print it out. It contains the Dirty Dozen (includes many fruits, too, just in time for stone fruit season, so pay attention) and the Clean Fifteen.
I urge you to buy more organic foods when possible but especially the vegetables that eat regularly. What you do most often will have the largest impact on your health.
Happy shopping. And whenever possible support your local farmers, they need it, and you need them. Without farmers, we wouldn't need farms. And then what would we eat?