Top 10 Fruits And Vegetables Most Contaminated By Pesticides
The Environmental Working Group recently compiled a list informing consumers about which fruits and vegetables contain the highest levels of pesticide residue, as well as which fruits and vegetables contain the least. Learn how you can avoid the most contaminated foods, and limit your exposure to dangerous toxins.
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental organization that is active in research and advocacy about toxins in the environment that may affect public health. To compile the data for the list of fruits and vegetables most contaminated by pesticides, about 87,000 tests for pesticides on those foods were analyzed. The rubric for measuring the severity of pesticide contamination on the produce included the percentage of food samples with detectable pesticides, the number of pesticides found on a sample, the average amount of pesticides found on the samples, among other measures.
The top ten most toxic fruits and vegetables out of 47 tested (that is, the produce with the greatest pesticide load) were found to be the following (with the most toxic produce first, and least toxic last):
- Sweet Bell Pepper
- Imported Grapes
The least toxic fruits and vegetables tested were the following (with the least toxic vegetable first, and the most toxic last):
- Frozen Sweet Corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
Broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes also got good scores for low amounts of pesticides. Most of the tests used to compile the list tested the produce after they had been rinsed and/or peeled.
The Environmental Working Group recommends eating less of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables, and eating more of the least contaminated produce. Pesticides are designed to kill living things, such as insects, fungi and plants, and they have been linked to problems with the nervous system, hormone systems, skin, lung and eye health of humans, as well as being carcinogens.
To reduce the amount of pesticides you ingest from your food, wash and scrub all fruits and vegetables under running water before eating. For leafy vegetables, remove the outer leaves that are likely to harbor the most chemicals, and peel fruits and vegetables if possible. Buy organically grown produce if you can, or grow it in your own garden. Finally, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, so you are not getting a potentially large amount of pesticides from any one food.
This post was included in the latest All Things Eco Blog Carnival.