Every year The U.S. Department of Agriculture samples produce for pesticide residues. Every year the Environmental Working Group publishes its list referred to as the “Dirty Dozen”. The last available data showed that there were over 146 different pesticides residues on fruits and vegetables even though they had been washed and in some cases peeled. This year the EWG dirty dozen list includes strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, salary, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
- Most notably, 98% of samples of strawberry, peaches, nectarines, and apples were positive for at least one pesticide residue. Potatoes unfortunately, had more pesticides per weight than any other produce.
- Kale, Collard greens and hot peppers were contaminated with toxic insecticides.
Are these chemicals toxic to humans?
There are studies dating back to 1990’s that suggest exposure to certain insecticides can cause neurological problems in children.
“Several long-term studies of American children initiated in the 1990s found that children’s exposures to toxic organophosphate insecticides in not only agricultural communities but also cities were high enough to cause subtle but lasting damages to their brains and nervous systems (Bouchard 2011, Rauh 2011, Engel 2011).” – EWG
The counterpoint to the dirty dozen list is espoused on another website.
- Some pesticides are drastically more toxic than others, but the EWG’s scoring system considers all pesticides to be equal.
- Three quarters of the pesticide/commodity combinations demonstrated exposure estimates below 0.01% of the RfD (corresponding to exposures one million times below chronic No Observable Adverse Effect Levels from animal toxicology studies), and 40.8% had exposure estimates below 0.001% of the RfD.What are some reasonable conclusions?
Any pesticide or insecticide in our food MAY carry a health risk short or long term.
Substantial scientific evidence of those risks MAY take years to become clear.
If you want to reduce your risks of exposure to these chemicals consider organically grown produce.