In a new report, it was revealed that nearly 70 percent of produce sold in the United States are contaminated with pesticide residues. Strawberries, spinach, and kale took the top spots for this year’s “Dirty Dozen” report.
In the Environmental Working Group’s guide to pesticide in produce for this year, some of the most popular produce for consumers were found to be contaminated with pesticide residues. By analyzing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they found that 225 different pesticides in the common produce that consumers eat every day.
Strawberries took the top spot in this year’s “dirty dozen,” followed by spinach and kale. In fact, over 90 percent of the kale samples they tested were positive for two or more pesticide residues, with a single sample having up to 18 pesticide residues. One of the most commonly detected among them is Dacthal, which is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a possible human carcinogen and has been banned in Europe since 2009.
Other produce in the list are nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes. Of the produce in the list, kale and spinach had 1.1 to 1.8 times more pesticide residue than any other crop.
Pesticide In Food
Before the samples were tested, all of them were washed and prepared just as consumers wash them before consumption, but the pesticide residues still remained. This might be because some pesticides, for instance Dacthal, are applied directly to the soil, which means that it is absorbed by the plant itself and therefore, cannot just be washed off.
According to researchers, it is important to keep a diet that is low in pesticide, citing a recent study in which it was found that the participants who ate organic foods had 25 percent fewer cancers than those who did not. Furthermore, they also noted a 2018 Harvard study where a connection between the consumption of pesticide-contaminated foods and fertility problems was made.
On that note, the EWG also released a list of the “Clean Fifteen” produce for 2019 in which avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, frozen sweet peas, onions, and papaya took the top spots.