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Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases their list of the “dirty dozen” and our apple a day tops the list!
The EWG takes thousands of samples from the most common fruits and vegetables to determine which contain the most pesticides.
It almost makes me feel bad about the non-organic locally grown peaches I just bought.
How much does this report really matter to our health?
Let’s take a look!
Most Pesticide and Chemical-Laden Produce
Listed from dirtiest to cleanest.
- Apples (98% of all apples tested contained significant pesticide residue)
- Sweet bell peppers (Found 88 different pesticide residues including organophosphates)
- Nectarines imported to U.S.A. (Almost 100% of all tested contained heavy pesticides including organophosphates)
- Blueberries, domestic U.S.A.
Green beans and kale were also noted as vegetables that contain pesticides like organophosphates.
What are Organophosphates?
Organophosphates block an enzyme needed for nerve function in bugs and humans. They have been shown to cause early birth in pregnancy and lower baby weight. Organophosphates may be a carcinogen as well as a contributor to Alzheimer’s disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and ADHD.
Some organophosphates have been banned all over the world, while other types are restricted. But some types are still in use.
Listed from cleanest to dirtiest.
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe, Domestic U.S.A.
- Sweet potatoes
What to Make of All This?
Pesticides seem nasty and scary to be lingering on our fresh produce. Years ago, I read research about how we are still better off eating plenty of fruits and vegetables regardless of whether or not we buy organic. We get more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals by eating produce rather than avoiding it.
Of course we can wash the produce well, but the EWG did its studies on produce that had been washed and peeled already. So, washing does not eliminate the pesticides.
Exposure to UV light and time helps to degrade the pesticides, but still does not eliminate them.
Pick and Choose Your Battles
Buying organic can get pricey. So, I would recommend buying organic for more of the foods on the dirty dozen list this year. As for everything else, buy organic when your budget can afford it.
If you are pregnant or have young children, it would be wise to buy more organic foods because the developing body is more sensitive.
Also, those that are chemically sensitive should avoid any exposure to pesticides and other crop chemicals.
Do you buy organic?