The Dirty Dozen PLUS

This article was originally published on Healthy Child Healthy World.

by Anh Nguyen, Communications & Programs Coordinator, Healthy Child Healthy World

No one will contest that a healthy diet must be rich in fruits and vegetables, but have you thought about the toxic pesticides you could be consuming with your fresh produce? According to a recent survey by the Environmental Working Group, 68 percent of food samples had detectable pesticide residues. So which crops are safe to eat, and which are best bought organic?

For the eighth year in a row, the Environmental Working Group has released their list of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables on the market as part of their 2012 Shoppers Guide. This year, they have expanded their Dirty Dozen list to 14, calling it the Dirty Dozen Plus. The two new crops, green beans and leafy greens (i.e. kale and collard greens) were found to be commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides.

Apples were dubbed the most contaminated produce because 98% of have detectable levels of pesticides. Other significant findings include:

  • Domestic blueberries tested positive for 42 different pesticide residues.
  • Seventy-eight different pesticides were found on lettuce samples.
  • Every single nectarine USDA tested had measurable pesticide residues.
  • As a category, grapes have more types of pesticides than any other fruit, with 64 different chemicals.
  • Thirteen different pesticides were measured on a single sample each of celery and strawberries.

The EWG does stress that “The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.” So if you cannot afford to buy organic all the time, just be extra conscious about carefully washing any produce on the Dirty Dozen Plus, or buy more of those that made it to their Clean Fifteen list.

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Photo Credit – Gretchen Tseng

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Filed under Education, Farming, Investigations, Vegan, Vegetarian

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