If it feels like you’ve slept through lockdowns and quarantines for more than a year, trust us, you are not alone. We are so ready to breathe fresh air without a mask … but while we wait for vaccines and herd immunity to make it happen, we are redoubling our efforts to strengthen our immune systems. Get enough sleep? Check. Reduce stress? Check. Are you increasing our intake of oranges for our daily dose of vitamin C? Um … maybe not.
At least … not if the oranges aren’t organic.
As it has done every year since 2004, the FDA’s environmental working group has analyzed data and published its Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists, which indicate that the conventional products are the most likely and least likely to be contaminated with pesticides. And this year, ugly data will also be released that more than 90 percent of conventional citrus fruits contain carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting fungicides.
This year, in addition to its list of brands, the EWG highlighted harmful fungicides found in nearly 90 percent of citrus samples.
The dirty dozen
Strawberries Top this year’s Dirty Dozen list as you did in 2020. The next dirtiest is spinach which had an average of 1.8 times as much pesticide residue as any other culture tested. Kale remains in third place, now combined with other leafy vegetables like Cabbage and Mustard green. Are further Nectarines followed by Apples, grapes, cherries, peaches, and Pears. After the first test since 2012 and 2011 paprika and hot pepperoni ranked tenth on the list, with a total of 115 pesticides detected – 21 more than the green leaf crops, which had the second highest amount. The dozen is rounded off by tomatoes and celery.
This year, in addition to its list of brands, the EWG highlighted harmful fungicides found in nearly 90 percent of citrus samples. These include thiabendazole, a well-known endocrine disruptor, and imazalil, which is also classified as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA. It is worth noting that these fungicides were found not only on the aromatic peel, but also on the edible portion of grapefruit, lemons, mandarins and oranges. Imported citrus fruits had more fungicides than US-grown citrus fruits, an anomaly that may be associated with longer travel and storage time, according to EEC scientists. This is a good reminder to buy local and organic produce whenever possible.
Although these results are alarming, they are by no means indicative of the need to stop buying and consuming fresh fruit, warns the EWG.
“Whether organically or conventionally grown, fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet,” writes the EWG in a recently published press release. “However, many plants contain potentially harmful pesticides even after they have been washed, peeled, or scrubbed, which the USDA does before testing each item.”
The clean fifteen
If it is not possible to source organic, the EWG recommends sticking to the Clean Fifteen List, which lists the 46 items in the group’s analysis that are least contaminated with pesticides. The Clean Fifteen for 2021 include Avocados, corn, pineapple, onions, papaya, frozen peas, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kiwi, cauliflower, mushrooms, honeydew, and Cantaloup melon. Almost 70 percent of the Clean Fifteen samples tested had no pesticide residue at all.
Based on bio-authority
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