As most hot topics do, this started as an email. Recipients were warned that baby carrots, or cocktail carrots, are dipped in a bath of chlorine–as in, the liquid you use to clean your pool–for preservation before being packaged and sent off for you to eat with your lunch, in your salad and as a snack.

But that’s not all. The email claimed that the white residue, or white blush, that forms on these carrots is actually the chlorine coming to the surface. After these emails were read, there were a lot of questions, speculation and talk.

So, are baby carrots really detrimental to the health of you and your family?

Chlorine and the White Blush

The residue seen on store bought baby carrots is called white blush. Why this appears can change depending on a variety of factors. Dr. Joseph Mercola says these factors are:

  • The condition of the carrots before processing
  • The degree of abrasiveness before processing
  • Chemical treatments used
  • Humidity levels during storage
  • Field irrigation where the carrots are grown

In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered processing plants to clean baby carrots, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables, with chlorine to stop the blush from happening. Though the whitening doesn’t affect the taste or nutritional value, stores take these turned carrots off the shelves because the residue coloring makes them less appetizing.

How Much Chlorine Is Too Much?

baby carrotsThe FDA recommends what they deem to be a minimal amount of this toxin; a free chlorine concentration of about 50 to 150ppm. However, health experts say that 20ppm is all that’s needed to kill bacteria. Regardless, any amount of chlorine, a known carcinogen, can be dangerous to your body. suggests, “Consider this, chlorine is toxic enough to be a chemical weapon and categorized as a ‘choking agent’.” This toxin has been linked to early onset of dementia, asthma, and eye and skin irritation.

Though chlorine has been effective at eliminating a variety of water-borne illnesses, it’s not just the chlorine we have to be concerned with.

Dr. Mercola says, “… Just like in water, it is not the chlorine you have to worry about. When chlorine interacts with organic matter it will form dangerous disinfection byproducts (DBPs) which are many thousands of times more toxic than chlorine.” Trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids are two of the most common and most dangerous of these DBPs.  These toxins can lead to liver malfunction and a weakened immune system.

Avoiding the Toxins

It’s a known fact that baby carrots are dipped in chlorine, and it’s clear that the amount used is unhealthy for your body. So, first and foremost, avoid purchasing bags of baby carrots. And add non-organic produce to your list of avoidable foods, as well.

Organic produce is always your best option. However, though that too is dipped in chlorine based cleaners. However, the levels of chlorine used for organic foods are significantly less than non-organic.  According to the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production, the permissible amount is the same as that which is put in our drinking water, about 4ppm.

Chlorine, in small amounts, has been valuable in reducing water-borne illnesses. However, with so much chlorine in our diet today, we’re building up higher levels of the toxin within our body making it important to avoid whenever possible.

While it can be difficult, if not impossible, to eat a totally chlorine-free diet, you can try to eliminate as much of this toxin as possible with one simple rule: Avoid purchasing baby carrots, and all non-organic produce; always choose organic.

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking of starting up gardening and avoiding chlorine contaminated produce all together!!

Do you prefer the taste of baby carrots or regular carrots?

More Articles You Might Enjoy: