Well folks, it’s that time of the year again!
The Environmental Working Group aka The EWG came out with their 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce so go and grab your copy! What I love about this download is that it’s wallet sized! All you have to do us cut it out, fold it in half and then you can have the list in your wallet for easy access whenever you’re in the grocery store!
For those of you who haven’t heard, the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen are a combined list of the “dirtiest” and the “cleanest” produce in the US. When I say “dirty”, I don’t mean that literally.
The Dirty Dozen is a list of the 12 conventionally grown produce which are the most heavily pesticide laden. The Clean Fifteen is a list of the 15 conventionally grown produce that has been found to be pesticide free.
Changes from 2017
There have been a few minor changes from the 2017 list. For the dirty dozen, there are several shifts in terms of where the produce falls on the list. All the produce from 2017 is still there, just in a different order for numbers 5-12. For the clean fifteen, grapefruits have left the list and broccoli has made it onto the list and avocados have come out as #1 pesticide free. (1)
Why pesticides are dangerous
Pesticides are modern man-made chemicals and our bodies are not equipped to process and get rid of efficiently. This means that pesticides and their residues stay in our bodies and wreak havoc. Some mimic hormones in our bodies, these are called xenoestrogens, and they go around tricking our cells into thinking that it’s real estrogen, a natural hormone that our bodies make. (2), (3) Down the road this can lead to cancer, infertility and other autoimmune diseases. For you men out there, the xenoestrogens don’t just affect women, they can lead to lower sperm count and abnormal sperm. (4) Pesticides have also been linked to brain and nervous system damage, ALS anyone? (5) Suffice it to say, pesticides are dangerous for our health and longevity.
How the lists are made
The EWG compiles this list with the reports of the tests completed by the US Department of Agriculture. If you think simply washing the produce or peeling the skins off will take care of the pesticides, think again. The samples were tested with the produce in the state that they’re typically eaten. Fruits like blueberries and peaches were washed and bananas & avocados were peeled. This means that the pesticides & their residues were still there in the produce after it was prepared for eating. (1)
Why you should follow the EWG Shopper’s Guide
Disease rates have risen over the past decades and the way that our food is grown has changed as well. The best thing that you can do for yourself and your family is to reduce your exposure to pesticides as much as possible. Whenever you can, buy the Dirty Dozen organic and I would recommend always buying them organic. The Clean Fifteen can be bought conventionally. Anything not on either list is in the middle and the choice is yours to buy those as either organic or conventional.
As an easy guide, if the food is leafy, thin skinned or has a tendency to be eaten by insects and other critters then they are likely heavily sprayed with pesticides and you should buy them organic.
If you didn’t get it above, here’s the link to get your free copy of the EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides on Produce. For more detailed information and a quick 2 minute video check out the EWG’s article about their Shopper’s Guide.