An apple a day keeps the doctor away, unless of course that apple is covered in pesticides. Before you bite into a crisp, juicy apple, beware that it once again tops the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual Dirty Dozen list.
Every year for the last decade, the nonprofit advocacy organization EWG compiles a list of the 12 most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables called the Dirty Dozen, as well as a list of the 15 fruits and vegetables with the lowest chemical levels, based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Although the USDA has established limits on the amount of pesticide residue it considers to be safe for consumption, conventionally grown fruits and vegetables can still contain alarming levels of the chemicals.
According to the EWG, a shocking 65 percent of the non-organic produce samples evaluated by the Agriculture Department tested positive for pesticide residue.
Some of the greatest offenders included nectarines, apples and grapes. In fact, every sample of imported nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide residue, and 99 percent of apple samples contained at least one chemical. Grapes were also high on the list with one single grape testing positive for 15 different pesticides! On the other hand, only one percent of avocado samples exhibited any trace of pesticides.
Pesticide exposure has been associated with serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and it has been linked to developmental problems in children. Pesticides have also been known to affect the nervous system and hormone levels in adults.
But the Dirty Dozen list doesn’t give us permission to skip the most contaminated produce, but rather one should consider selecting organic versions of these fruits and vegetables, and purchase plenty of produce from the Clean Fifteen.
Here are 2014’s Lists:
The Dirty Dozen: apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. And, the “Dirty Dozen Plus” includes two more veggies that just barely missed this year’s list – hot peppers and kale/collard greens.
The Clean Fifteen: avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangos, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
For more great tips on healthy aging, visit Home Care Assistance at www.homecareassistance.com or call 1-866-4-LiveIn!