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Top 12 Toxic Fruits and Vegetables

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Top 12 Toxic Fruits and Vegetables

Would you like a mouthful of pesticides with your peach? If you’re eating non-organic peaches, that’s what you may well be getting. According to the 2011 edition of Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, the majority of conventional peaches contain two or more pesticide residues; in fact, peaches as a group rack up a combination of up to 57 separate pesticides. Pesticides can be extremely toxic to human health and the environment. Both U.S. and international government agencies have linked pesticides to nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone system disruption and IQ deficits among children.

Each year Environmental Working Group analyzes nearly 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the USDA and the FDA to determine what fruits and vegetables contain the highest (the “Dirty Dozen”) and lowest (the “Clean 15″) amounts of chemical residue. The information is presented in a handy shopper’s guide. I love this list, it is so practical and puts the ability to eat safely in everybody’s hands. It’s a brilliant workaround.

Shoppers can use the list in two ways:

• If you are unable to buy organic produce, for whatever reason, avoid the Dirty Dozen and instead opt for the Clean 15.

• If you can buy limited organic produce, purchase organically-grown items from the Dirty Dozen, and continue buying non-organic selections from the Clean 15.

Of course, in a perfect place we wouldn’t be contending with pesticides at all – but given this wonky world, at least we have some tools to help navigate around the n-methyl carbamates and organophosphate pesticides. (Did you know that some of the most commonly used pesticides today were originally derived from nerve gasses developed during World War II? Fun fact. Ugh.)

Anyway, by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, you can lower your pesticide consumption by nearly 92 percent. Here’s where to start, number 1 being the most contaminated.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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3:57PM PST on Nov 20, 2013

thanks....found the link now.....will have to make it work

3:56PM PST on Nov 20, 2013

thanks, we need this on a pocket/wallet card....

6:25AM PDT on Sep 10, 2013

Goot to know. I buy my fresh vegetables and fruits from farmers markets.

3:02AM PDT on Sep 8, 2013


11:32AM PDT on Aug 23, 2013

Thank you.

2:10AM PDT on Jul 27, 2013

Thank you :)

3:31PM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

I mean a Dutch tv-programme: (it's in Dutch)

3:28PM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

Sorry Karen, but you can't wash of the pesticides. They are inside the fruits too.
In a Dutch program they compared the peels of an organic lemon, a not washed lemon and a washed/cleaned lemon. Their was not much difference in what they found on the 'regular' ones (a long list of pesticides and stuff). The organic lemon was really clean.

9:46AM PDT on Jul 12, 2013

The heading is very misleading. They are only toxic if they are not cleaned properly. Also if they are organic they get a clean bill of heath. Try to avoid misleading terms about fruits and veggies that are so good for one's health and well being! Organic is the way to avoid all the poisons in our food.

4:55PM PDT on Jun 26, 2013

sad to know this!

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