Thirty years after a National Academy of Sciences study warning of the dangers posed to children by pesticides, 75% of non-organic fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S. are still riddled with the potentially toxic agricultural chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group’s “2023 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.”
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Thirty years after a landmark National Academy of Sciences study warning of the dangers posed to children by pesticides, 75% of non-organic fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S. are still riddled with the potentially toxic agricultural chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “2023 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.”
This year, blueberries and green beans join the Dirty Dozen, the Shopper’s Guide section listing the 12 non-organic, or conventionally grown, fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticides, based on federal agencies’ tests. Some of the pesticides detected have been banned in the U.S. or Europe because of concerns about how they harm people.
“Despite the abundance of science linking exposure to pesticides with serious health issues, a potentially toxic cocktail of concerning chemicals continues to taint many of the non-organic fruits and vegetables eaten by consumers,” said Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., EWG toxicologist.
The findings underscore the need for stronger regulations around and oversight of how pesticides are used on food crops.
The Shopper’s Guide compiles EWG’s analysis of the latest fruit and vegetable testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The 2023 edition includes data from 46,569 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables, covering 251 different pesticides.
In addition to the Dirty Dozen, the guide includes the Clean Fifteen, EWG’s list of the fruits and vegetables with very low or no traces of pesticides.
The guide also features a full report on pesticides on produce and more detailed analyses about specific fruits and vegetables and what chemicals were found on them.
“Everyone — adults and kids — should eat more fruits and vegetables, whether organic or not,” Temkin said. “A produce-rich diet provides many health benefits.”
“But in the ongoing absence of meaningful federal oversight, consumers concerned about pesticide exposure can use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to navigate the produce aisle in ways that work best for them and their families,” Temkin said.
EWG recommends that consumers buy organic versions of Dirty Dozen produce and choose either conventionally grown or organic versions of Clean Fifteen items.
Blueberries and green beans
Both blueberries and green beans — 11th and 12th, respectively, on this year’s Dirty Dozen — had troubling concentrations of organophosphate insecticides, pesticides that can harm the human nervous system. Nine out of 10 samples of each of the popular foods had residues of pesticides — with some showing traces of up to 17 different pesticides.
Continued on Source: Blueberries, Green Beans Join ‘Dirty Dozen’ List of Pesticide-Drenched Foods