It goes without saying, but the rural areas of the United States have become overrun by toxic pesticides, samples of which have been found in everything from our food, air and drink water (along with childhood vaccines, believe it or not).
We are a pesticide-soaked nation, and while it may be impossible to avoid pesticide exposure entirely, taking steps to reduce your toxic load now is one the best things you can do for you and your family’s health.
Recently, the Environmental Working Group came out with its most-anticipated yearly contribution, the famous ‘Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteeen’ list, and it’s an excellent way for knowing which fruits and vegetables to prioritize buying organic whenever possible.
The Top 12 Pesticide-Soaked Fruits and Vegetables to Avoid
According to this year’s list, the following are the fruits and vegetables that are most important to avoid:
1. Strawberries- As one organic farmer named Jim Cochran discovered after he was poisoned by his own crop, buying non-organic strawberries simply is not worth it, even if they are cheap, juicy and delicious. The farmer switched to growing organic strawberries and has since done quite well for himself. One strawberry sample contained 22 pesticides according to the EWG’s official list.
2. Spinach- 97 percent of all samples contained pesticide residues, including a neurotoxic insecticide.
3. Nectarines- One sample contained 15 different pesticides, and 94 percent had some type of pesticide.
4. Apples- There’s a reason why ours are banned in Europe – 80 percent contained a pesticide responsible for this policy.
5. Grapes- These contain an average of 5 pesticide residues according to the EWG list.
6. Peaches- While organic can be hard to find, it’s worth it considering 99 percent have detectable pesticide residues.
7. Cherries- 30 percent of all cherries contained a pesticide that is banned in Europe.
8. Pears- The pesticides in this fruit were said to be highly concentrated.
9. Tomatoes- These are easy to grown at home, so do it if at all possible.
10. Celery- A maximum of 13 pesticides were detected in one sample.
11. Potatoes- Buy organic to make sure you’re not getting GMO, which are available unlabeled in limited locations.
12. Sweet Bell Peppers- Rounding out the dirty dozen, these may have less pesticides, but they contain particularly strong ones. Buy organic whenever possible!
Thoughts on This Year’s Dirty Dozen
While buying organic is always the best idea because it helps to preserve our soil for future generations and is the best way to avoid GMOs and pesticides, it’s understandable that we can’t always be perfect in this increasingly toxic era.
Every type of organic produce may not be available in each area, and sometimes recipes call for things that can’t be purchased in their purest, natural state.
The good news is that as more and more people support organic farmers, the prices will continue to go down. Consider every purchase as an investment in your health, and the health of the planet, and you can’t go wrong.
For more information or to see the full list (including the Clean Fifteen), click here.
Thumbnail via MuncieVoice.