The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put out its 2018 report of the most pesticide ridden produce on the market, the Dirty Dozen™. They also have a Clean Fifteen™ list with fruits and vegetables considered to contain the least amounts of pesticide residue.
Strawberries nabbed the top spot on the Dirty Dozen list, for the third year in a row. USDA tests found that strawberries are the fresh produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, even after they are picked, rinsed in the field and washed before eating. They found that a single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides. According to the EWG, Americans eat nearly 8 pounds of fresh strawberries a year, which means also eating dozens of pesticides, including chemicals that have been linked to cancer and reproductive damage, or that are banned in Europe.
They also found that more than 98% of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide and that spinach samples had, on average, 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.
According to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association, an association between consuming high-pesticide-residue foods and fertility problems was found. Women who reported eating two or more servings per day of produce with higher pesticide residues were 26% less likely to have a successful pregnancy during the study than participants who ate fewer servings of these foods.
Although washing produce thoroughly can help reduce the pesticide residue, the best way to limit pesticide exposure is to choose organically grown strawberries when possible, and that is true for all foods on the 2018 Dirty Dozen list.
Here is EWG’s Dirty Dozen List for 2018:
12. Sweet Bell Peppers
Organic produce can be expensive, so if you are on a tight budget, consider filling your shopping cart with produce that was found to have the least amount of pesticide residue, like avocados, eggplant and cauliflower. Here’s a link to the EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ list.
Photo from here, with thanks.