The nonprofit Environmental Working Group recently reported their 2019 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. In this report, the U.S. top 5 fruits and vegetables found to be the most tainted with pesticides were spinach, strawberries, kale, nectarines and apples. If you're looking to start eating organic, these are the 5 fruits and vegetables you should start with and probably try not to eat non-organic.
2019 Guide to Pesticides in Produce Report
More than just those 5 fruits and vegetables, the report found that nearly 70% of all non-organic U.S. produce were contaminated with pesticides. Further, more than 225 pesticides and pesticide breakdowns were found in our produce. It's important to note that the produce is tested after it is peeled and washed, basically as it is prepared to be eaten. This means that simply washing and peeling your fruits and veggies won't remove the pesticide residue.
Each year, the EWG puts together the 12 most pesticide tainted fruits and vegetables called the "Dirty Dozen." The report also lists the 15 "cleanest" fruits and vegetables, with the lowest amount of pesticides found during testing. This years' lists can be found below.
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Honeydew melons
For those who can't purchase only organic, these clean 15 are generally considered safe by the EWG.
Impact of Pesticides on Our Health
While many of the pesticides found in the non-organic U.S. produce listed in the EWG report have been linked to cancer, respiratory disease, depression, and disruptions to reproductive and endocrine systems, extensive research on the impact of varying levels of pesticide exposure is lacking.
In a recent statement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (who produce the data analyzed by the EWG in their report) stated that "more than 99 percent of the samples tested had pesticide residues well below benchmark levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)." However, a recent article in Environmental Health News, noted that growing research proves that pesticide exposure below what is considered benchmark have been linked to the health issues listed above.
Further, the EHN article makes the point that very little is known about the health effects of combined pesticide "cocktails," which will be crucial to find out as much of the produce tested had traces of multiple pesticides.
Nneka Leiba, co-author of the EWG report and director of healthy living at EWG, told Environmental Health News:
"We see health impacts when people eat fruits and veggies with the highest pesticide loads, [such as] increased risk of cancer and fertility problems in huge epidemiological studies, this suggests people should limit their consumption of foods with the highest pesticide loads and opt for organic whenever possible."
What can you do
With the links of pesticides to poor health outcomes, you may want to consider switching over to organic, especially for the fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list. Parents and caregivers are especially recommended to limit children's exposure to pesticides, by switching to organic when possible.
Here at Living Juice, and O2 Living, we recognize the importance of organic fruits, veggies, and all natural products. All of our cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices are made with organic produce. We never add anything to our juices (no preservatives, no sugar, no sweeteners, and no water), so you can be sure that you are getting 100% fruit and vegetable juice. When you enjoy a cold-pressed Living Juice, you can be sure that you are only getting organic fruit and vegetable juice!