Pesticides are common in the food supply. The pesticides kill off the insects that can damage or even destroy entire crops of food. To remove some residual pesticides, the FDA recommends thoroughly washing all fruits and vegetables prior to consumption. They estimate that 83 percent of pesticides can be removed simply by washing food first.
Acrylamide was first discovered in food in 2002. It is a white crystalline substance that it is a carcinogen and has been found to cause nerve damage in laboratory animals when consumed in high doses. The FDA has not yet determined its affect on public health.
Polychloronated Biphenyls (PCBs) are released in the air from landfills containing old electrical equipment. PCBs can also result from the evaporation of contaminated bodies of water containing remnants from electrical devices.
Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a toxic mold that is present on some wheat products. The substance can be reduced but not removed when wheat is processed. It is believed that DON does not present a public health hazard.