The Washington based Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization, has released the updated 2013 edition of its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
EWG highlights the worst offenders with its “Dirty Dozen” list and the cleanest conventional produce with its “Clean 15” list.
The guide ranks pesticide contamination on over 40 popular fruits and vegetables. To determine the ranking, the EWG analyzes more than 28,000 samples that have been tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.
You can lower your pesticide intake by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and choosing the least contaminated produce. EWG advises you to buy organic versions of the 12 items on its “Dirty Dozen” list.
2013 DIRTY DOZEN LIST
Consuming five fruits and/or vegetables from this “Dirty Dozen” list would be equivalent to ingesting an average of 14 different pesticides each day.
Sweet bell peppers
In 2011, apples also topped the “Dirty Dozen List” for highest amounts of pesticides, and they were found on 98% of the apples the USDA tested. Celery tested positive for 57 different pesticides; and some strawberries had as many as 13 different pesticides.
Apples tested contain the pesticide thiabendazole, a known carcinogen, among others. “We found that nearly every apple sampled, 98 per cent, had pesticide residues,” says Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst. “This is an accumulation of 48 different pesticides.”
“Parents don’t realize they’re often feeding their little ones fruits and veggies with the highest pesticide residues,” said Dr. Harvey Karp, MD, author of “The Happiest Baby on the Block.”
“Studies show even small amounts of these chemicals add up and can impair a child’s health when they’re exposed during the early, critical stages of their development.”
The Environmental Working Group claims that for the second year, they have expanded the Dirty Dozen™ with a Plus category to highlight two crops – domestically-grown summer squash and leafy greens, specifically kale and collards.
“These crops did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system, including organochlorine, which has been banned for home use and withdrawn for many agricultural uses, but is still applied to certain commercial crops.”
2013 CLEAN 15 LIST
Produce with the least amount of pesticide contamination are known as the Clean 15. If you can’t afford to buy organic, you should restrict yourself to these 15 fruits and vegetables.
Sweet peas – frozen
The genetically modified crops likely to be found in produce aisles of American supermarkets are zucchini, Hawaiian papaya and some varieties of sweet corn. Most Hawaiian papaya is a GMO.