Published: Sun, March 24, 2019
Money | By Arnold Ball

Study finds dirtiest fruits, vegetables people often put in their grocery carts

Study finds dirtiest fruits, vegetables people often put in their grocery carts

"The federal government's role in protecting our health, farm workers and the environment from harmful pesticides is in urgent need of reform", the EWG said.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that almost 70 percent of produce sold in the United States comes with pesticide residues after analyzing more than 40,900 samples of 47 popular fruits and vegetables taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration.

Strawberries topped this year's dirty dozen list for the fourth year in a row.

Strawberries are at the top of the latest "dirty dozen" report, along with kale, potatoes, and other produce.

In the latest tests, nearly 60 percent of the kale samples tested positive for DCPA, or Dacthal, which the Environmental Protection Agency has long classified as a possible human carcinogen.

More than 70 percent of fruit and vegetable samples on the Clean Fifteen list had no pesticide residues.

Avocados, sweet corn and pineapples were found to have the least amount of residue. The EWG recommends buying organic produce whenever you can, and EWG research analyst Carla Burns additionally notes that "the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure".

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The guide, released every year since 2004, ranks the pesticide contamination of 47 popular fruits and vegetables.

The watchdog group publishes its "Dirty Dozen" list annually, in which it ranks the 12 produce items that contain the highest amount of pesticide residues.

The Alliance for Food and Farming, a non-profit that represents organic and non-organic growers, said the "Dirty Dozen" list is "unsupportable". After questions from the host, she finally said that eating more fruits and vegetables is the overall goal. "Furthermore, many stores put organic produce on sale, so keep your eyes open for bargains", she says. Some of the kale samples contained as many as 18 different chemicals. "It is time to stop calling non-organic forms of healthy fruits and veggies "dirty" and perpetuating unfounded safety fears that may negatively impact consumers' purchasing of both organic and conventional produce".

Kale is known for being a source of vitamins and other nutrients, but the vegetable could also be tainted by cancer-causing pesticides. Europe has prohibited its use since 2009.

The organization advises people to eat organic produce.

Since 2012, the American Academy of Pediatricians Council on Environmental Health has emphasized that children's exposure to pesticides should be as limited as possible, because pesticide exposure during pregnancy and early childhood increases the risk of brain tumors, leukemia, neurodevelopmental defects and other adverse birth outcomes.

The findings make the case for choosing organically grown fruits and vegetables, since research has shown that organic produce has fewer pesticide residues than conventional.

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