Dirty Dozen- The Top Foods with the Most Pesticides
In our quest to save our children from the damages of toxins, avoiding pesticides has to be at the top of our to-do list. If you buy organic and wash your produce well, you will avoid most of the pesticides. A few still make it into the food as they are in the soil (think arsenic in organic rice).
My thanks goes out to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for doing the work on this one:
“Among the top three worst offenders—apples, strawberries, and grapes—nearly every sample had pesticides on it, Lunder said, with one grape alone showing traces of 15 pesticides. ”
“The National Institute of Environmental Health Services acknowledges that scientists do not have a full understanding of the health risks associated with exposure to pesticide residues through food, soil, water, or air. Still, notes EWG, various U.S. and international government agencies have linked pesticides to a slew of health risks, including cancer, hormone disruption, brain and nervous system toxicity, and irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs. ”
“Dirty Dozen 2013:
Sweet bell peppers
Additionally, the EWG added a “plus” category for the second year, noting two items—domestically-grown summer squash, plus kale and collards—that, though they didn’t meet Dirty Dozen standards, were commonly contaminated with exceptionally toxic pesticides. These organophosphates, dangerous to the nervous system, were phased out of agricultural use in the 1970s and ’80s, but still linger on many farm fields.
Still, there’s also good news, as the guide includes the “Clean Fifteen”—fruits and veggies with the lowest levels of pesticides, offering hopeful solutions for anyone not in the position to find or pay for more expensive organics. Many of these safest options have naturally protective coatings, such as corn, which tops that list once again this year, and papaya, which is a newcomer. Watermelon, sadly, dropped off the clean list from 2012.
“The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure,” notes the EWG report, stressing that “eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.”
Clean Fifteen 2013:
Sweet peas (frozen, since they’re more readily available)