Thursday, January 30, 2014

Do You Know Which Foods Have The Most Pesticides?

In addition to being hazardous to our ecosystem, many pesticides pose health dangers to people. As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
  • brain and nervous system toxicity
  • cancer
  • hormone disruption
  • skin, eye, and lung irritation

Eating lots of fresh produce is always a healthy choice, especially when compared to eating a diet high in processed foods. Still, choosing organic foods is the best way to reduce exposure to toxic pesticides.

If your grocery budget is limited it's a good idea to know where to prioritize spending and where you can save if you need to. The Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists, awesome resources provided by Environmental Working Group, are great guides for doing so.

It is generally safe to buy conventional (non-organic) items on the Clean list. They don't contain many pesticides.
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet Peas (frozen)
  • Sweet Potatoes

The produce on the Dirty list below are highly treated with very dangerous pesticides. The organic form should be sought out whenever possible.
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Hot peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Kale, Collard Greens
  • Summer Squash

Wondering if the produce you're holding is organic? Look at the four or five digit number on the little sticker stuck to it. Organic produce begins with a number 9. Conventional produce begins with a 4.

Read EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides to learn more about pesticides in produce.

Anything on these lists surprise you?

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