Everyone knows we need to eat fruits and vegetables. Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables are covered with pesticides. For those who are interested, the Environmental Working Group, using data put together by the USDA, puts out a list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides – and the least.
On the “clean” list, those with little or no pesticides, are listed as:
On the dirty list are all those fruits and veggies with higher levels of pesticides. These include:
sweet bell peppers
The EWG ranks fruits and vegetables by the amount and number of pesticides found in each type. The group also expresses the fact that it is far better to eat fruits and vegetables with pesticides than to avoid them altogether.
The USDA tests fruits and vegetables by washing and peeling them as a consumer might. The level of pesticides is then tested. While scientists do not know the extent of the risks associated with pesticide use and consumption, the National Institute for Environmental Services reports that an Agriculture Health Study done on farmers who use pesticides and their families showed an increase in dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, tremors, and other neurological symptoms.
Many consumers, it seems, feel that the list is a slight against farmers who use pesticides to control harmful bacteria that cause such outbreaks as the e. coli outbreak that was recently found in Germany on farms that use organic fertilizers and no pesticides. Others feel that the list – and the reporting of it – is nothing more than a scare tactic designed to mislead consumers.
In reality, most pesticides are sprayed on in liquid form. This spray not only reaches the crops themselves but also anything the wind blows it on. The liquid absorbs into the ground and is taken in by the roots. As one consumer commented about the list, layer for layer, the pesticide rate is the same. It’s the peel and the core that are high in the chemicals.
Medical evidence done by the EPA as well as other private groups have shown that chemicals can have a negative long term affect on the body. The USDA has determined that such harmful bacteria as e. coli can be found in natural fertilizer. So, the choice seems clear: fruits and vegetables with pesticides and possible long term affects or fruits and vegetables with no pesticides and possible long term affects. Happy eating!