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.