Produce, whether they are fruits or vegetables, are treated with pesticides to keep insects away. Just washing it with water does not remove the chemicals completely and these harmful chemicals may end up in you and your family’s bodies.
The Consumers Union and the Environmental Working Group have come up with a list of 10 “dirtiest” fruits and vegetables, based on extensive research and analysis on pesticide residues found in crops. Although many of these products do not exceed safety tolerances for individual pesticides, most samples have residues from multiple chemicals, which may pose a combined exposure risk.
Choosing organic options for these 10 items will drastically reduce pesticide intake:
Peaches – Conventionally-grown peaches contain high levels of iprodione, a possible human carcinogen, and methyl parathion, an insecticide known to disrupt hormones secretions. Consumer Reports said that even a single serving of peaches usually exceeds the safe daily limit for a 44-pound child.
Apples – The popular American fruit also contains methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and apple sauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, a chemical linked to massive bird kills.
Nectarines – These fruits have the highest percentage of pesticides (97.3 percent) among the samples taken for EWG tests. They contain a wide array of chemicals such as chlorpyrifos, iprodione, malathion, methidathion, myclobutanil, parathion, and pirimicarb.
Strawberries – These sweet fruits are often treated with captan, a type of fungicide. Captan is a possible human carcinogen, which can also irritate the skin and eyes. This chemical is also highly toxic to fish.
Pears – Whether as a fresh crop or in baby food, pears can contain methyl parathion and azinphos-methyl, a known pesticide that is also toxic to freshwater fish, amphibians, and bees.
Sweet bell peppers – The study has tagged this crop as having the most pesticides found in a single sample, as well as the vegetable with the most chemicals overall.
Celery – Samples used in the study were tested positive for pesticides and the highest likelihood of containing multiple pesticides in a single sample.
Imported grapes – These contain methyl parathion, dimethoate, and methomyl, a known endocrine disruptor. Because these grapes are grown under various regulations, the pesticide residue levels usually exceed the US government standard.
Spinach – Samples for spinach exceed pesticide safety tolerance. It also contain dimethoate and permetrin, which is possibly carcinogenic to humans.
Potatoes – These root crops may contain dieldrin and methamidophos. Children who eat potatoes are also at risk of consuming high doese of aldicarb.