The Dirty Dozen

The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.

Environmental Working Group research has found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load. Richard Wiles, senior vice president of policy for the Environmental Working Group explains that, “If you eat something like a pineapple or sweet corn, they have a protection defense because of the outer layer of skin. Not the same for strawberries and berries.” Also, it is good to know and remember that these list were complied after the produce had been washed using high pressure water systems – you can not wash off all pesticides, but you can reduce them – so keep this in mind when deciding to spend a little more on the organic.

Fruits and veggies grown conventionally – not homegrown or organic – have tested positive for as many at 67 different pesticides/chemicals in them. “The Dirty Dozen” list is below, it has been recommended to buy these organic or grow them yourself (if possible).

domestic blueberries
sweet bell peppers
spinach, kale and collard greens
imported grapes

All the produce on “The Clean 15” had little to no traces of pesticides, and is safe to consume in non-organic form. However if you have the resources to buy organic or a garden, logic would provide that would be a better path to take. However, not everyone has these options – hence why the dirty have been identified. This list includes:

sweet corn
sweet peas
kiwi fruit
sweet potatoes
sweet onions

A few words about Pesticides
Basically pesticides, are used to kill crop invaders – crops are sprayed with these chemicals, kill of bugs and such then come to our table since they are very hard to remove from the plant. Pesticides are made to kill small living things, and we are eating them. Pesticides like to stay in our colons. In 2005 a study linked breast cancer to a pesticide called heptachlor epoxide – which was banned commercially in 1988, but is still allowed in bug killers. Many of these pesticides have been linked to leukemia, liver and kidney cancers, fetal development, autism, ADHD, miscarriages, convulsions, infertility and prostate cancer. Some pesticides are considered carcinogens. I have always lived by the thought that if it is in the grey area.. why mess with it. However I feel this is more in the obvious no-no area – but why would we want to risk our health. Please consider buying the Dirty Dozen organically..

What do you think?