Washington, DC - Environmental Working Group (EWG) delivers the sixth
edition of its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides with updated information
on 49 fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide load. EWG
highlights the worst offenders with its “Dirty Dozen” list and the
cleanest conventional produce with its “Clean Fifteen” list. http://www.foodnews.org
Analysts at EWG synthesized data collected from the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) from 2000 to 2008. Produce is ranked based on a composite score,
equally weighing six factors that examine how many pesticides are on the
produce and at what levels. All samples are washed and peeled prior to
being tested for pesticides, so the rankings reflect the amounts of the
chemicals likely present on the food when is it eaten.
Notable changes in the new guide include ranking celery as the most
contaminated produce, replacing peaches. Included in the guide for the
first time are domestic and imported cultivated blueberries, which in
previous years lacked sufficient data to be included in the analysis.
Wild blueberries, typically packaged as frozen blueberries, are not
included in the analysis.
New to EWG’s Clean Fifteen list are cantaloupe, grapefruit and
honeydew, while broccoli, tomatoes and papayas fell off. Onions,
avocado and sweet corn remains the cleanest produce.
“Though buying organic is always the best choice, we know that
sometimes it’s too expensive or just not an option,” says EWG’s Amy
Rosenthal. “This unique information is crucial for shoppers looking to
decrease their exposure to pesticides while still getting all the health
benefits of fruits and vegetables.”
Pesticides can be extremely toxic to human health and the
environment. U.S. and international government agencies alike have
linked pesticides to nervous system toxicity, cancer, and hormone system
disruption. EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides helps consumers decide
when it is most important to buy organic.
“Pesticides are toxins. They can’t be good for you. The only
question is how bad they are,” says Dr. Andrew Weil, renowned medical
expert on natural health and wellness. “I think in many cases the answer
is pretty bad.”
Consumers can lower their pesticide consumption by nearly four-fifths
by avoiding conventionally grown varieties of the 12 most contaminated
fruits and vegetables. Eating non-organic produce from EWG’s Dirty Dozen
list exposes individuals to an average of 10 pesticides a day, versus
two per day when eating from the Clean Fifteen list.
The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh
the risks of pesticide exposure and EWG strongly recommends that
everyone follow USDA’s recommendation to eat five servings of fruits and
vegetables per day. EWG’s Shopper’s Guide makes it easy to meet that
goal while reducing your exposure to pesticides.
EWG’s Shoppers Guide is available for fee as a PDF download or as an
iPhone app at www.foodnews.org. For a small donation, consumers can also
have a version of the guide sent to them that can be attached to
reusable shopping bags.
EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that
uses the power of information to protect human health and the