March 29, 2011

Fruits, vegetables, and pesticides: Rating the best and worst of conventionally grown produce

The Environment Working Group (EWG) has compiled a list of 49 fruits and vegetables, and arranged them in order of "best" and "worst" with regard to pesticide use. [View the List]

Chemical pesticides are often used in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and in home kitchens and gardens. But it's important to minimize exposure to them whenever possible. Pesticides are known to cause cancer, neurological disorders, and reproductive problems in humans. Pesticides also have harmful effects on groundwater when used persistently.

A good way to avoid pesticides is to purchase organic produce and meat products. When dealing with farmers directly, be sure to ask about pesticide use.

If you don't have access to organic produce, it's best to purchase items grown with minimal pesticide inputs. According to EWG, onions and avocados are the cleanest, followed by frozen corn, frozen peas, and asparagus, to name a few. [View the List]

Removing Pesticides from Conventionally-Grown Produce

It's worthwhile to wash produce thoroughly to remove dirt and pesticide residue.

Paul Pitchford, author of Healing With Whole Foods, suggests adding a few drops of citrus seed extract to water for soaking produce to remove pesticides and parasites.

Related Links

Pesticide Information and History

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