The old adage about keeping the doctor away does not take into account the potentially harmful effects of pesticide residue on apples and many other fruits and vegetables.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non profit that uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment, has been publishing reports on pesticide use in the US for the past 15 years. The latest report contains a list of its “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” fruits and vegetables.
As their names allude, the dirty dozen are the most heavily sprayed fruits and vegetables. And at the top of the list are apples. After analyzing USDA data, EWG concluded that 98% of apples in the US have a pesticide residue, even after being washed in water.
Grapes, strawberries, potatoes, and oranges are not far behind.
On the bright side, avocados, corn, sweet peas, mushrooms and watermelon are rather clean.
What you need to know:
Pesticides are toxic. They kill pests that would otherwise eat and blemish parts of your fruit or lettuce. But unfortunately, pesticides are also toxic to humans. The USDA has set maximum levels of pesticide presence in products to ensure that exposure levels are very low.
However, even these low pesticide residue levels may be harming our health:
While all of the above is true, we don’t think parents need to reach the conclusion not to feed their children fruits and vegetables.
What to do at the supermarket:
Obviously, buying organic is the surefire way to avoid pesticides. But 99.9% of us won’t pay the high price for an all organic diet.
Don’t stop buying fresh produce just because of the fear of pesticides. Make sure you wash fruits and vegetables as best you can, buy in season to lower costs, and where you can splurge on organic.