Potatoes have been around since the 16th century. Potatoes (like tomatoes) contain poison in the stems and leaves – and even in the potato itself if left to turn green (the green is due to a high concentration of the glycoalkaloid poison). Potato poisoning is rare, but it does happen from time to time. Death normally comes after a period of weakness and confusion, followed by a coma. The majority of cases of death by potato in the last fifty years in the USA have been the result of eating green potatoes or drinking potato leaf tea.
In our modern time Potatoes are known for their high level of unhealthy residues. Pesticides play a significant role in the growth of a potato. Before seeds are even planted, insecticides to kill off wireworms are sprayed into the soil. To prevent the spread of blight, seeds are drenched in fungicides. Systemic insecticides that penetrate the entire plant are used when young potato plants are covered with dirt. With 37 possible pesticides, potatoes make several lists of foods to avoid (or at least buy organically).
Alternative: A similar and tasty alternative is the sweet potato, which is low in pesticide contamination and healthier overall.