Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wisdom Wednesday: The Dirty Dozen

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases the “Dirty Dozen” – a list of the 12 non-organic fruits and vegetables highest in pesticide residues.

Pesticides are substances commonly used in agriculture to protect drops from damage caused by insects, weed pressure and diseases. To compile the Dirty Dozen list, the EWG analyzes over 38,000 samples taken by the USDA and FDA to single out the worst offenders.

While the EWG claims that this list can help consumers avoid unnecessary pesticide exposure, some experts – including food scientists – argue that the list is scaring the public away from consuming healthy foods.

Pesticides are tightly regulated by the USDA, and recent reports indicate that pesticide levels found on 99.5% of conventional produce are well below recommendations set by the EPA. The USDA Pesticide Data Program ensures that the U.S. food supply “is one of the safest in the world,” due to rigorous testing methods.

However, many experts argue that continuous exposure to pesticides – even in small doses – can build up in your body overtime and lead to chronic health conditions.

Additionally, there is concern that the safe limits set by regulatory agencies don’t take into consideration the health risks involved with consuming more than one pesticide at a time.

According to the EWG, the following conventional fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of pesticide residues:

Consistently topping the Dirty Dozen list, EWG found that one-third of all strawberries samples contained ten or more pesticide residues.

97% of spinach samples contained pesticide residues.

The EWG detected residues in nearly 94% of samples

The EWG detected residues in 90% of samples, 80% of the apples tested contained traces of diphenylamine, a pesticide banned in Europe.

Over 96% tested positive for pesticide residues.

Over 99% of peaches tested contained an average of 4 pesticide residues.

The EWG detected an average of five pesticide residues on cherry samples, including a pesticide called iprodione, which is banned in Europe.

Over 50% of pears tested contained residues from five or more pesticides.

Four pesticide residues were found on the conventionally grown tomato. One sample contained over 15 different pesticide residues.

Pesticide residues were found on over 95% of samples with as many as 13 different types of pesticides detected.

Potato samples contained more pesticide residues by weight than any other crop tested.

Sweet bell peppers:
These peppers actually contain fewer pesticide residues compared to other fruits and vegetables. However, the pesticides used on these peppers “tend to be more toxic to human health.”

My Take:
The levels of pesticides deemed safe by the EPA are outdated and not necessarily safe. Now the EPA is relaxing restrictions while the gag order prevents comment.

Bottom Line:
If you eat these foods, and you should, spend the extra money and buy organic.

Source: September 5. 2018 NIH

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