Tags: Health Topics | ewg | epa | produce | collard greens | mustard | kale

The Environmental Working Group Releases 2021 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The Environmental Working Group Releases 2021 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce
Fresh Collard greens used for the German dish Knieperkohl seen in the restaurant 'Deutsches Haus' in Pritzwalk, Germany, Dec. 10, 2013. (Photo by: Bernd Settnik/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

By    |   Wednesday, 24 March 2021 10:51 AM

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) informs consumers about the safest choices when buying and consuming produce. This year, they have added some newcomers.

Collard and mustard greens join kale among the most pesticide-contaminated fresh produce on the group’s 2021 Dirty Dozen™ list. For the first time, bell peppers and hot peppers have made the list.

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen™ together make up EWG’s annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, which analyzes Department of Agriculture test data to identify which fresh fruits and vegetables are most and least contaminated with pesticide residues.

"Whether organic or conventionally grown, fruits and vegetables are critical components of a healthy diet," said EWG toxicologist Thomas Galligan, Ph.D. "We urge consumers who are concerned about their pesticide intake to consider, when possible, purchasing organically grown versions of the foods on EWG’s Dirty Dozen, or conventional produce from our Clean Fifteen."

This year, the USDA’s tests found residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides on nearly 70 percent of the non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. Before testing fruits and vegetables, the USDA washes, scrubs and peels them, as consumers would, says the EWG.

Until this year, kale was alone in the No. 3 spot on the Dirty Dozen. A total of 94 different pesticides were found on leafy greens, including neonicotinoids, or neonics. One sample of mustard greens had 20 different pesticides, and some kale and collard samples had as many as 17.

On all three types of greens, the pesticide most frequently detected by the USDA was DCPA, sold under the brand name Dacthal. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies DCPA as a possible human carcinogen, and the European Union banned it in 2009.

Neonics are the fastest-growing class of insecticides, despite a decade of research making it clear that they are highly toxic to honeybees and other pollinator species. Some studies on human health also suggest that exposure to neonics may be harmful to the developing fetus and to children.

Bell peppers and hot peppers, tested for the first time since 2012 and 2011, respectively, are also included in this year’s list at No. 10. The USDA found 115 pesticides on peppers – the most, by far, on any item.

The EWG says that most pesticide residues the USDA finds fall within government-mandated restrictions. But legal limits are not always safe. The EPA’s safety levels, called tolerances, help agency regulators determine whether farmers are applying pesticides properly. If tolerance levels were set to protect all children eating produce, as EWG believes they should be, more fruits and vegetables would fail to meet them.

"EPA’s tolerances are often far higher than what many scientists believe is safe – particularly for pregnant women, babies and young children," said EWG president Ken Cook. "EWG releases our Shopper’s Guide each year so consumers can make informed decisions that will let them reduce their family’s exposure to toxic pesticides while allowing them to eat plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables."

Galligan tells Newsmax that his organization recommends buying organic whenever possible.

"Research has repeatedly shown that eating organic produce is an effective way to dramatically reduce exposure to toxic pesticides," he says. "A diet high in organic food has been linked to a variety of important health benefits, including improved fertility, lower BMI, reduced incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and lower risk of type 2 diabetes."

EWG knows that organic produce may not always be available and affordable for every consumer, so the organization urges consumers to consult their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™.

"Choosing organic is particularly important for items on the Dirty Dozen list, as these have the most pesticides on them. Items on the Clean Fifteen list have the least, so consumers can buy these fruits and vegetables in their non-organic forms without compromising on pesticide exposures," says Galligan.

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Collard and mustard greens join kale among the most pesticide-contaminated fresh produce on the group’s 2021 Dirty Dozen™ list. For the first time, bell peppers and hot peppers have made the list...
ewg, epa, produce, collard greens, mustard, kale, pesticides
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2021-51-24
Wednesday, 24 March 2021 10:51 AM
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