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Friday, May 21, 2010

Shopper's Guide to Pesticides

To minimize your exposure to pesticides, take some help from the Environmental Working Group.

EWG is a non-profit organization that researches health and the environment. They analyzed more than sixty thousand samples of forty-five popular fruits and vegetables that were tested for contamination by the U.S.D.A. and the F.D.A. the way they’re usually eaten (washed or peeled).

Researchers found that certain fruits and vegetables contained significantly higher levels of pesticides than others. They named the least contaminated ones the Clean Fifteen and the most contaminated ones the Dirty Dozen Plus, which includes the twelve fruits and vegetables with the highest concentrations of pesticides plus two more that were commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides.

In descending order (apples are the most toxic), the Dirty Dozen Plus most contaminated fruits are vegetables are:

1.    Apples
2.    Celery
3.    Sweet bell peppers
4.    Peaches
5.    Strawberries
6.    Nectarines (imported)
7.    Grapes
8.    Spinach
9.    Lettuce
10.   Cucumbers
11.   Blueberries (domestic)
12.   Potatoes
13.   Green beans
14.   Leafy greens including kale and collard greens

Avoid these foods if they’re not organic.

In ascending order (onions are the least toxic), the Clean 15 least contaminated fruits and vegetables are:

1.    Onions
2.    Sweet corn
3.    Pineapple
4.    Avocado
5.    Asparagus
6.    Sweet peas
7.    Mangoes
8.    Eggplant
9.    Cantaloupe (domestic)
10.   Kiwi
11.   Cabbage
12.   Watermelon
13.   Sweet potatoes
14.   Grapefruit
15.   Mushrooms

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