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 last time kale was tested, for example, it contained residues of imidacloprid, a nicotine substitute that is toxic to many insects, but the pesticide was not included in the most recent testing.

The "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen", a list of the top 15 tested produce contaminated with the least amounts of pesticide, are based off more than 40,900 fruit and vegetable samples tested by the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.

The EWG did state that despite the classification of "dirty", all of the pesticides found on produce fell within the legal limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

On Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group released its annual Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which analyzes Department of Agriculture test data to identify which supermarket produce have the most -and least- contamination.

In USDA's most recent round of tests, more than 92 percent of conventionally grown kale samples had at least two or more pesticide residues. The Shopper's Guide also includes the Clean Fifteen, a list of the fruits and vegetables with the lowest amount of residues.

According to the EWG, the USDA has not tested kale for nearly a decade, but pesticide levels in the popular vegetable have increased significantly.

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"We were surprised kale had so many pesticides on it, but the test results were unequivocal", Alexis Temkin, the group's toxicologist, said in a statement. Kale ranked eighth on the 2009 Dirty Dozen, the past year for which there was testing data. The latest report on kale found traces of Dacthal, which the Environmental Protection Agency classified as a possible human carcinogen.

Even as kale's popularity surged, it hasn't been included in the USDA's regular produce tests since 2009, when it ranked eighth on EWG's list, according to the group, which found pesticide residues on almost 70 percent of conventionally grown produce in the U.S.

Numerous pesticides detected by EWG have always been banned in the European Union and have been the subject of concern at the EPA-but the USA has failed to take the chemicals off the market. Human consumption of pesticides has been shown by studies to be associated with cancer risk, fertility and other health concerns. "No list needed", said Thorne of the Alliance for Food and Farming. However, if your budget does not allow you to eat organic, fruits and vegetables are better than none. "That's largely because residues are so low, if present at all", she said.

Landrigan is director of the Global Public Health Program and Global Observatory on Pollution and Health at the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society at Boston College.

Thorne noted a past study in the Journal of Toxicology that was critical of EWG's Dirty Dozen list, and found that eating organic produce didn't decrease consumer risk.

In order of pesticide concentration, 2019's Dirty Dozen list is: strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes. "And more importantly, the fact that the USDA and FDA aren't testing for all the pesticides used in fruits and vegetables is a huge problem". Less than 1 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides. "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".

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