As you may have seen in our books, the Environmental Working Group has a “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. The EWG created this list based on tests done from 2000-2009 by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. The EWG combined several variables (like the percentage of samples with detectable levels of pesticide and the average number of pesticides found) to rank 53 produce items from most to least contaminated with pesticides. If you are like us, this list made us consider splurging on organic celery and peaches!
But, in a newly published paper, researchers at UC Davis call the environmentalists out! They point to faulty methodology in the creation of the “Dirty Dozen” list and comment that the minimal amount of pesticides found in even the most contaminated produce is far below levels that would cause adverse health effects.
Bottom line: There are still more questions than answers when it comes to environmental health, but this study provides a reassuring perspective. And remember—the majority of pesticide exposure in kids does not come from the food chain—home pesticide use and lawn care are bigger concerns.