This week the Environmental Working Group (EWG) came out with their annual report on fruits and vegetables containing the most and least amounts of pesticides/fungicides. The following fruits and vegetables contained the highest levels of pesticides: Strawberries, spinach, kale, collard and mustard greens, nectarines, apples, grapes, cherries, peaches, pears, celery, bell and hot peppers and tomatoes. These foods were prepared as consumers would by washing, peeling or scrubbing them before they were tested. Strawberries had the highest residue of pesticides out of all the fruit and vegetables.
New additions to this year’s list were peppers, both bell and hot peppers. They often contain chlorpyrifos, a pesticide originally created as an alternative to DDT. Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxin and can cause in developing brains of children. These pesticides remain on the fruits and vegetables even after peeling in some cases such as clementine’s and tangerines. Collard and mustard greens were also new to the list this year, as with kale many of the pesticides remained after washing.
Fungicides used on many citrus fruits after harvest to prevent mold growth during transport and while on grocery store shelves was found to be on 90% of all grapefruits, oranges, mandarins and lemons. All of these fruits were tested after peeling.
What can you do to avoid these toxins? Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables, buy organic when possible, always wash both fruit and vegetables and eat locally and in season.