Every year the Environmental Working Group releases a report titled “Shopper’s Guide To Pesticide In Produce” which let’s consumer know which fruits and vegetables have the highest and lowest contamination of pesticides residue. The test are done by the USDA, and include over 40,000 produce items across the country and major grocers. Samples are tested after they have been prepared to be eaten by the consumer. This is an important factor, because this means that after the produce have been thoroughly washed, cut and peeled in some cases, there is still pesticide residue on the fruit or vegetable.
What Are Pesticides Anyway?
Directly from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences website, “A pesticide is any substance used to kill, repel, or control certain forms of plant or animal life that are considered to be pests. Pesticides include herbicides for destroying weeds and other unwanted vegetation, insecticides for controlling a wide variety of insects, fungicides used to prevent the growth of molds and mildew, disinfectants for preventing the spread of bacteria, and compounds used to control mice and rats”.
Why Should You Be Concerned?
Heavy pesticide use in conventional farming practices have been linked to cause a wide range of negative health affects in humans and animals. Some population-based studies link pesticide exposure to serious health effects such as cardiovascular diseases (62), negative affects on male reproductive system (63) and on the nervous system (58), dementia (67), and also a possible increased risk for certain cancers (68). Specific pesticide prenatal exposure have even been correlated with decreased gestational duration (69) and neurological problems occurring in children (70).
More studies are being done to assess the short term and long term health affects of pesticides in our foods. We should all do our best to avoid exposure of these toxic chemicals as much as possible. Also, don’t be fooled if you come across studies that suggest there are no differences in nutritional value between organic and non-organic foods. This is an effort to get your attention off of the fact that non-organic foods contain these toxic chemicals and are detrimental to your health. Stay woke!
Now, let’s get to the EWG’s Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen List:
Dirty Dozen: Buy These Organic
Hot peppers didn’t make the cut, but have been test for high amounts of pesticide residue, so get these organic as well.
Clean Fifteen: These Don’t Have To Be Organic
- Sweet Corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
- Honeydew Melons
Although I recommend to buy organic, local and seasonal when possible. Eating fruits and vegetables over processed junk foods is always recommended even if buying organic is not an option for you. It will always be much healthier to choose conventional fresh fruits and veggies over chips, prepackage “healthy” foods usually packed with additives and preservatives, or fast food garbage.