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Misc. News : Health Tips Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM


Health Tip: Produce and Pesticides
By EWG
Jun 17, 2006 - 4:14:00 PM

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Pesticides are commonly present in fruits and vegetables. You need to know which contain more than others so you may have a choice. The following lists are made by Environmental Working Group based on data from the government.

12 Most Contaminated
Buy These Organic

• Apples
• Bell Peppers
• Celery
• Cherries
• Imported Grapes
• Nectarines
• Peaches
• Pears
• Potatoes
• Red Raspberries
• Spinach
• Strawberries


12 Least Contaminated

• Asparagus
• Avocados
• Bananas
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Corn (sweet)
• Kiwi
• Mangos
• Onions
• Papaya
• Pineapples
• Peas (sweet)

Here is what EWG recommends:

Should I stop eating certain foods?

We recommend that you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables because they're essential to a healthy diet. But you can and should cut back on pesticides--just as you might cut back on fat, calories or cholesterol.

Right now, buying organic food is the best option to reduce your intake of pesticides if (like us) you're skeptical about government and chemical company claims that pesticides are "safe." If you want to eat conventionally produced fruits and vegetables that usually have fewer pesticides, you can change your eating habits to do so.

What about washing?

Washing will not change the rank of the fruits and vegetables in the Guide. That's because nearly all of the data used to create these lists comes from the USDA Pesticide Data Program (PDP) where the foods are washed and prepared for normal consumption prior to testing for pesticides (apples are washed and cored, bananas are peeled, etc.).

While washing fresh produce may help reduce pesticide residues, it clearly does not eliminate them. Nonetheless, produce should be washed before it is eaten because washing does reduce levels of some pesticides. However, other pesticides are taken up internally into the plant, are in the fruit, and cannot be washed off. Others are formulated to bind to the surface of the crop and do not easily wash off. Peeling reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel.

The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.



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