Wednesday, March 20, 2019


Every year, The Environmental Working group publishes their 'Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce'.  They publish two lists.  One list, the Dirty Dozen, lists the fruits and vegetables that absorb the highest levels of pesticides, and which they highly recommend you buy organic. The second list, 'The Clean 15" lists the 'cleanest' fruits and vegetables; where few, if any, pesticide residues were detected and which you can feel comfortable buying conventional.

What are some of the dangers of exposure to pesticides (especially during pregnancy and early childhood?) 

Let's start by saying that pesticides are designed to kill living things (pests) - by definition, something that kills living things can't be great for you or your kids.

Pesticides have been linked to cancer, acute and chronic nervous system injury and dysfunction of the endocrine, reproductive and immune systems and behavioral problems

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued an important report that said that children have "unique susceptibilities to [pesticide residues'] potential toxicity." They cited research linking pesticide exposures in early life and "pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems." It advised its members to urge parents to consult "reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables."

Also bad news? Pesticides persist on fruits and vegetables tested by USDA, even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.

The good news?  Eating one or two conventional fruits will not make you sick.   It is the cumulative effect that can be concerning (ie my son can eat grapes breakfast lunch and dinner and then some... everyday day).  Eating one here or there is ok.  

Not everyone can afford organic produce, this is a fact since, unfortunately, organic produce does have a higher price tag than conventional produce.  

Because of how important it is, nutritionally, to consume fruits and vegetables, these annual lists should not discourage consumption of fruits and vegetables if you  cannot afford organics.   It is still better to eat conventional produce versus not eating produce at all.  However,  if you simply cannot afford organic, then liberally choose from the Clean Fifteen list and try to limit consumption of the fruits and vegetables listed in the Dirty Dozen.  

Organic produce can be found at lower prices - sometimes you do have to shop around.  Farmers Markets are a great place to start.   Shop late in the day, as sometimes prices will drop when the market is coming to a close. Also, many local farmers do not pay for the USDA Organic certificate (it is expensive!) but still use organic farming practises.  Get to know your farmers and ask what they use.   Also, join a community supported CSA program.  You will be contributing to the local farm's operating expenses while getting a weekly box of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

2019 LIST

Today, EWG's 2019 Guide to Pesticide use in produce was published... which are the fruits and veggies that have the highest levels of pesticides and that you definitely want  to be buying organic (especially for small children and pregnant moms) ?

1. strawberries
2.  spinach
3.  kale
4.  Nectarines
5.  Apples
6.  Grapes
7. Peaches
8.  cherries 
9.  pears
11. celery
12.  potatoes

This list stayed almost the same as last year proving that these are probably the safest fruits and veggies available (and no need to pay premium organic prices for them either!) 
1.  avocado
2.  sweet corn
3.  pineapple
4. frozen sweet peas,
5.  onions
6. papayas
7. eggplant
8.  asparagus
9. kiwi
10.  cabbages
11. cauliflower
12. cantaloupes
13. broccoli
14.  mushrooms
15. honeydew melons

1 comment :

  1. Holy cow! Sweet corn? Corn is one of the most heavily sprayed and GMO foods around. It is one of the top foods we should eat organic, if at all. The pesticide is part of the genome now, and it attacks the lining of the intestines, causing leaky gut. Bleh.