Published: Fri, March 22, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen 2019: These Fruits & Veggies Have The Most Pesticides

Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen 2019: These Fruits & Veggies Have The Most Pesticides

The three items were found to have the highest levels of pesticide residue, according to an annual analysis from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

In 2009, kale ranked eighth on the Dirty Dozen, and since then, the USDA hasn't tested kale for pesticides. The nonprofit consumer advocacy organization uses more than 40,000 produce samples tested by the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in compiling its list.

More than 92 percent of kale had residue from at least two pesticides after washing and peeling the appropriate vegetables, according to the report.

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.

"Some produce samples can have more than 50 different types of pesticides", Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., EWG's senior science adviser, told mbg. And some of the kale had residue from more than 18 pesticides.

CBN News Health Reporter Lorie Johnson explains, "For years I've been interviewing the world's leading nutrition experts who consistently warn about the damaging health consequences of consuming conventionally grown produce, particularly the co-called 'dirty dozen.' They say the most effective way to avoid these harmful agents is to eat organically grown produce".

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The American Academy of Pediatricians Council on Environmental Health advises limiting exposure to pesticides during pregnancy and in early childhood as much as possible to curb the risk of neurological disorders, leukemia, and other diseases that the chemicals have been linked to. The EWG also put out its "Clean 15" list with the produce having the lowest levels of pesticide residue.

The guide, released every year since 2004, ranks the pesticide contamination of 47 popular fruits and vegetables. The fruit gained its notorious status because of the United States Department of Agriculture concluding strawberries are most likely, among the tested produce, to retain pesticide residues even after being picked and washed.

"A list like the Dirty Dozen makes it seems like we have something to be concerned about, when we don't necessarily have anything to be concerned about at all", MacGregor said to Global News.

While she is encouraged that the USDA and FDA conduct such testing for pesticides, she and others at EWG hope more people become educated about the prevalence of pesticide residue on their food, and the potential dangers of exposure to these chemicals. The lowest levels of pesticides were found on sweet corn, pineapples, and avocados. Nectarines, apples, and peaches were also on the "dirty" list. In fact, says Temkin, there are hints that more pesticides may be sprayed on crops today. "When possible, parents and caregivers should take steps to lower children's exposures to pesticides while still feeding them diets rich in healthy fruits and vegetables".

"We definitely acknowledge and support that everybody should be eating healthy fruits and vegetables as part of their diet regardless of if they're conventional or organic", Temkin told the Guardian.

The report found that less than one percent of avocado and sweet corn samples had any detectable pesticides.

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