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To your Health!
Cameron Clinic Staff
Why Should You Care About Pesticides?
There is growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people, especially during vulnerable periods of fetal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects. Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood, or in some cases completely unstudied, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible.
Will Washing and Peeling Help?
Nearly all of the data used to create these lists already considers how people typically wash and prepare produce (for example, apples are washed before testing, bananas are peeled). While washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
How This Guide Was Developed
The produce ranking was developed by analysts at the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) based on the results of nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2004. A detailed description of the criteria used in developing the rankings is available as well as a full list of fresh fruits and vegetables that have been tested (see below).
EWG is a not-for-profit environmental research organization dedicated to improving public health and protecting the environment by reducing pollution in air, water and food. For more information please visit www.ewg.org.
The Full List: 43 Fruits & Veggies
|RANK||FRUIT OR VEGGIE||SCORE|
|3||Sweet Bell Peppers||86|
|9||Grapes - Imported||65|
|19||Grapes - Domestic||43|
|37||Sweet peas - frozen||11|
|41||Sweet Corn - frozen||2|
|43 (best)||Onions||1 (lowest pesticide level)|
Note: We ranked a total of 43 different fruits and vegetables but grapes are listed twice because we looked at both domestic and imported samples.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Some three years ago, Dr. Mercola warned about fruits and vegetables containing the highest amount of pesticides as determined by the Environmental Working Group.
Now their new, updated list is out.
To stay away from pesticides that do great harm to your health, I urge you to download the EWG's complete listings of the best and worst whole foods at their Web site today. Remember that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic.
Pesticides can have many negative influences on health, including neurotoxicity, disruption of the endocrine system, carcinogenicity and immune system suppression. Pesticide exposure may also affect male reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women.
That's just part of the reason why you should always be on the lookout for organically grown fruits and vegetables. Where traditional farmers apply chemical fertilizers to the soil to grow their crops, organic farmers feed and build soil with natural fertilizer.
Traditional farmers use insecticides to get rid of insects and disease, while organic farmers use natural methods such as insect predators and barriers for this purpose. Traditional farmers control weed growth by applying synthetic herbicides, but organic farmers use crop rotation, tillage, hand weeding, cover crops and mulches to control weeds.
The result is that organically grown food is not tainted with chemical residues, which can be harmful to humans.
The major problem most people have with organic food is the expense.
However, if you plan wisely, eating organically is actually quite affordable. A diet based on whole organic foods does not have to be cost-prohibitive for the average family or single consumer.
However, I'd like to say that if the choice is between fresh conventional vegetables and wilted organic ones, I would recommend you choose the conventional vegetables; old and wilted vegetables lose many of the vital micronutrients that make them so healthy.
If you do buy conventional vegetables, I certainly recommend that you go with the ones on the "Cleanest 12" list.