The Environmental Working Group or EWG, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health has created the Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce. The 2015 version is based on the results of pesticide tests performed on produce and collected by federal agencies from the past ten years.
They have compiled a list, the Dirty Dozen Plus which includes produce with the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions, or grow them organically if you garden.
The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood. Pesticides have been linked to health issues such as brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, and hormone disruption. So, it’s important to eat organic whenever you can.
Maintaining your family’s health is not the only reason to choose organic food. Pesticide and herbicide use contaminates groundwater, ruins soil structures and promotes erosion, and may be a contributor to colony collapse disorder, the sudden and mysterious die-off of pollinating honeybees that threatens the American food supply.
The Dirty Dozen Plus
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Snap Peas
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
Apples, peaches, and nectarines topped EWG’s 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in ProduceTM list of the dirtiest, or most pesticide-contaminated, fruits and vegetables, a new analysis of U.S. government data found. Apples turned up with the highest number of pesticides for the fifth year in a row, while peaches and nectarines moved up to the second and third spots. Apples tend to have the most pesticides because of the chemicals applied to the crop before and after harvest to preserve them longer, EWG reported.
Nearly two-thirds of produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and analyzed by EWG for the 2015 Shopper’s Guide contained pesticide residues, a surprising finding considering the increased consumer demand for food without agricultural chemicals, EWG reported. The EWG also said that USDA tests found a total 165 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetables samples examined in 2014, a find alarming as it is disturbing.
Whenever you can, try to purchase the organic versions of these produce. Or try your hand at gardening, whether you’re in an urban-environment or out in the country, it can be done successfully.