Have you ever wondered how commercial fruits and vegetables rank against each other for pesticides?

Recently I discovered a fabulous website for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) www.ewg.org. The EWG is a not-for-profit environmental research organization dedicated to improving public health and protecting the environment by reducing pollution in air, water and food.

The guide they have developed for fruits and vegetables makes for valuable reading: www.foodnews.org
When I printed it off and showed the boys the list, as a reminder about the benefits of organic fruits, they too were fascinated. So much so that the very next day at school, one of their teachers was discussing with the children how fruits and vegetables are ‘healthy foods’ when one of my boys shot up their hand and said, “well, really only organic fruits and vegetables are healthy, – the ones from the supermarket are full of chemicals!”

When he later told me about this discussion he said, “Mum, I get confused at school when they talk about, ‘health things’  because it’s not what you and Dad tell me.”

I resisted the urge to say too much and just let him clear his mind. I sat beside him and simply said, “Tell me more about that handsome?” He’s a clever fellow and fortunately he is inherently very proud of what he knows about the body. He just wanted express his frustration and let me know he’d had a tough day.

I also felt for his teacher who was trying to make a simple point for her eager students. Apparently she responded with “well some fruit and vegetable is better than none.” This is also true. Unfortunately though, none of us yet know the effects of pesticides on the human body or the accumulation of a lifetime of these nasty chemicals.

Why Should You Care About Pesticides?

There is growing consensus in the scientific community that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people, especially during vulnerable periods of feotal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects. Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood and in some cases completely unstudied, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible.

How the EWG Pesticide Guide Was Developed.

The produce ranking was developed by analysts based on the results of nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2005. A detailed description of the criteria used in developing the rankings is available as well as a full list of fresh fruits and vegetables that have been tested (see below).

Will Washing and Peeling Help?

Nearly all of the data used to create these lists already considers how people typically wash and prepare produce (for example, apples are washed before testing, bananas are peeled). While washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel.

The BEST OPTION’s;

· eat a varied diet,

· wash all produce – you can now buy a variety of fruit and vegetable “washes” that lift a large percentage of the chemical  residues that lie on the surface of the fruit.

· ideally choose organic produce whenever possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

The Full List: 43 Fruits & Veggies

RANK

FRUIT OR VEGGIE

SCORE

1 (worst)

Peaches

100 (highest pesticide load)

2

Apples

96

3

Sweet Bell Peppers

86

4

Celery

85

5

Nectarines

84

6

Strawberries

83

7

Cherries

75

8

Lettuce

69

9

Grapes – Imported

68

10

Pears

65

11

Spinach

60

12

Potatoes

58

13

Carrots

57

14

Green Beans

55

15

Hot Peppers

53

16

Cucumbers

52

17

Raspberries

47

18

Plums

46

19

Oranges

46

20

Grapes-Domestic

46

21

Cauliflower

39

22

Tangerine

38

23

Mushrooms

37

24

Cantaloupe

34

25

Lemon

31

26

Honeydew Melon

31

27

Grapefruit

31

28

Winter Squash

31

29

Tomatoes

30

30

Sweet Potatoes

30

31

Watermelon

25

32

Blueberries

24

33

Papaya

21

34

Eggplant

19

35

Broccoli

18

36

Cabbage

17

37

Bananas

16

38

Kiwi

14

39

Asparagus

11

40

Sweet Peas-Frozen

11

41

Mango

9

42

Pineapples

7

43

Sweet Corn-Frozen

2

44

Avocado

1

45 (best)

Onions

1 (lowest pesticide load)

Note: We ranked a total of 44 different fruits and vegetables but grapes are listed twice because we looked at both domestic and imported samples.

If you log on to the website you can download your free guide which features the “12 fruits and veggies with the most and least pesticides.

Wishing you and yours Exceptional Health,

Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani
(B.App.Clin.Sci, B.Chiropractic)

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