Is Your Banana Chemically Ripened?
Arsenic is an known endocrine disruptor which negatively effects your estrogen cell receptors and increases your risks of multiple cancers, diabetes, heart disease, as well as reproductive and developmental problems. Recent studies suggest increased health risks can be at levels as low as 5-10 parts per billion (ppb). Calcium carbide was originally developed for welding purposes, and contains arsenic as one of its main components. When calcium carbide is dissolved in water it produces acetylene which acts as the artificial ripening agent but taints the fruit with arsenic.
Many bananas and other fruits are chemically ripened using ethylene gas. Bananas naturally produce ethylene gas, which causes the fruit to ripen on its own. Industry however uses artificially produced ethylene gas. The question that should be asked then is: "How is the ethylene gas chemically produced to ripen bananas?" Ethephon and ethereal are the most common ethylene-generating chemicals used to artificially ripen fruit. Ethephon and ethereal are organophosphorus compounds and one of the main components in many herbicides and pesticides. According to studies there is strong evidence of genotoxicity with ethephon at low doses as well as potential hepatotoxic (liver damaging) effects.
Thankfully studies are being conducted on how to create more natural ways to ripen bananas and other fruits like mangos. Scientists have also discovered soaking mangoes in a 2% sodium carbonate (washing soda) solution can remove arsenic residues from the calcium carbide ripened mangoes prior to their consumption.