ShutterstockVisit a grocery store in America, and at some point you'll ask: "Should I buy organic produce to avoid pesticides, or just get the cheaper stuff?" The most contaminated of the strawberries had 20 different pesticide types.
Each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce. "This is a good wake-up call for them".
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is the one that conducts studies every year to test out fruits and vegetables.
In order, starting with the highest amount of pesticide residue, the Dirty Dozen are: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes.
Researchers found 70 percent of the juicy red morsels have traces of pesticides.
"Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential no matter how they're grown", said EWG senior analyst Sonya Lunder, "but for the items with the heaviest pesticide loads, we urge shoppers to buy organic".
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Pesticide residue can remain on fruits and vegetables even after they are washed and, in some cases, peeled, according to the report.
If you're curious how the rest of the produce ranked, check out the full list of rankings here.
"Even low levels of pesticide exposure can be harmful to infants, babies and young children, so when possible, parents and caregivers should take steps to lower children's exposures to pesticides while still feeding them diets rich in healthy fruits and vegetables", said Dr. Phillip Landrigan of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in NY.
"The concern is that depending on the structure of the communication about pesticides and fruits and vegetables this could turn people away from wanting to purchase any fresh produce". Shop organic and use EWG's Clean Fifteen™ list to find the conventionally grown produce with the lowest levels of pesticide residues. For instance, vegetables from the brassicaceae family - such as cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and onions and garlic - that are naturally resistant to pests and therefore aren't sprayed with as much pesticides.
The EWG Shoppers Guide was released the same day as another report by the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food was presented to the world body. They measure the levels of pesticides found in every crop.