We’ve been told to eat our fruits and veggies over and over again. However, some conventional fruits and veggies are ridden with pesticides, which can be hazardous to your health. And know this: washing off your fruits and veggies won’t get rid of those pesticides; newer forms of pesticides ensure that the pesticides remain inside the food itself. For instance, conventionally grown sweet bell peppers have an average of 11 different pesticides on their skin, and that’s even after they’ve been “washed” and placed on display in the grocery store.
Interestingly, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) says that we can lower our pesticide intake by 80 percent simply by avoiding 12 foods, termed the “dirty dozen.” Buying these foods in their organic form—as well as the rest of your diet—is a great way to avoid those pesticides, other chemicals and more. In fact, the EWG also says that when we eat non-organic food regularly, then we consume, on average, 10 different pesticides a day. The EWG adds that eating organic is even more critical for children, since they are at a much higher risk from pesticides due to their bodies still developing.
Pesticides we carry in our bodies have been linked to birth defects, child and adult cancers as well as infertility and more. Unfortunately, according to Chemical Trespass, among those who have the heaviest “pesticide body burden” are children and women. So, here are those “dirty dozen”—the fruits and veggies you should buy and eat organic to avoid unwanted pesticides: peaches; apples; nectarines; strawberries; cherries; imported grapes; peas; sweet bell peppers; celery; kale; lettuce and carrots. Of course, we believe that eating USDA Certified Organic is the only way to eat to avoid pesticides, GMOs and much more.
Here are a few more findings by the EWG on pesticides in these foods:
- Nectarines had the highest percentage of samples test positive for pesticides (97.3 percent), followed by peaches (96.7 percent) and apples (94.1 percent).
- Peaches and apples had the most pesticides detected on a single sample, with nine pesticides on a single sample, followed by strawberries and imported grapes where eight pesticides were found on a single sample of each fruit.
- Peaches had the most pesticides overall, with some combination of up to 53 pesticides found on the samples tested, followed by apples with 50 pesticides and strawberries with 38.
- Celery had the highest percentage of samples test positive for pesticides (94.1 percent), followed by sweet bell peppers (81.5 percent) and carrots (82.3 percent).
- Sweet bell peppers had the most pesticides detected on a single sample (11 found on one sample), followed by kale (10 found on one sample), then lettuce and celery (both with nine).
- Sweet bell peppers were the vegetables with the most pesticides overall, with 64, followed by lettuce with 57 and carrots with 40.
Be sure to avoid these foods with the most pesticides. Or, just make it easier on yourself and your health and choose organic for these foods and everything else!