If fruit were labeled with ingredients, the label on apples would list fiber, potassium and vitamin C - which are good for you.
It also might list azinphis methyl, Captan, Supracide, parathion, Elgetol, Sevin, NAA, NAD, Ziram, diphenylamine, Lorsban and benzimidazole. These might not be so good, but they're among dozens of chemicals routinely used to bring apples from fruit trees to fruit bowls.Many have been identified by the Natural Resources Defense Council as harmfulto children, based on chemical residues on food. But those findings are in dispute, and federal regulators and the industry say apples are safe.
Here is a typical chemical season for Washington apples:
In early April, an organophosphate spray - Supracide, Lorsban or parathion - kills the eggs of European red mites and also controls the spread of San Jose scale, a pest that can kill trees.
In May, Guthion, the marketing name for azinphis methyl, kills codling the moth larva, the most damaging pest in the orchard.
Also applied at bloom time is Elgetol, a "thinner" that burns off some flowers, reducing the number of apples a tree will bear. Untreated trees will produce huge crops one year and tiny ones the next to conserve energy. Another thinner is Sevin, an insecticide made from the chemical carbaryl.
NAA and NAD have largely replaced Alar to keep apples on trees longer. They are less effective, and there is no substitute for Alar's ability to extend shelf life.
Ziram or Captan, fungicides used to battle bull's eye rot, also are applied at this time.