‘Dirty Dozen’ list highlights products with most pesticides

Strawberries and spinach remain the two produce with the highest levels of pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group’s 2022 Pesticides in Produce Buyers Guide.

They are followed on the list by leafy green vegetables – kale, cabbage and mustard – nectarines, apples, grapes, peppers and hot peppers, cherries, peaches, pears, celery and tomatoes.

“Everyone should eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, no matter how they are grown,” said Alexis Temkin, PhD, ecologist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), in a statement.

“But shoppers have a right to know what potentially toxic substances are in those foods, so they can make the best choices for their families,” Dr. Temkin said.

Whole fruits and vegetables are packed with healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, a diet high in fruits and vegetables may have a wide range of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, and a lower risk of developing certain cancers.

Most adults should eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But only 1 in 8 people eat enough fruit and only 1 in 10 people eat enough vegetables, the CDC notes.

Instead of cutting out certain fruits and vegetables from your diet, eat organic when you can and consider buying fruits and vegetables that top the EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” list with the fewest chemicals. toxic. This includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, papaya, sweet peas, asparagus, honeydew melon, kiwi, cabbage, mushrooms, cantaloupe, mangoes, watermelon and Sweet potatoes.

To assess pesticide levels in fruits and vegetables, EWG researchers reviewed the results of tests conducted on nearly 45,000 product samples by the USDA and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). . Products are washed, rubbed and peeled before being tested to mimic how consumers might prepare food in their own kitchen.

Pesticide residues were found on more than 70% of non-organic produce, EWG reported. Almost all of the products had pesticide residue levels below the limits set by US regulators.

The health risks of pesticides vary by type, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some can impact the brain and nervous system, leading to cognitive and motor deficits. Others can cause cancer. And there are also some that disrupt normal hormone production, contributing to metabolic disorders and fertility problems.

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