|Posted by HealthyLady on November 3, 2014 at 12:20 AM|
Environmental Working Group publishes its annual rating of conventional foods with the most and least pesticide residues to fill the void left by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has largely failed to tell Americans they have a right to know about the risks of pesticide exposure and ways they can reduce pesticides in their diets.
Parents' concerns have been validated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which in 2012 issued an important report that said that children have "unique susceptibilities to [pesticide residues'] potential toxicity." The pediatricians' organization cited research that linked pesticide exposures in early life and "pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems." It advised its members to urge parents to consult "reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables." One key resource, it said, was EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
With EWG's Shopper's Guide, consumers can have the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with less exposure to pesticides.
European regulators are several steps ahead of their American counterparts. Over the past several years, they have raised new questions about the safety and ecological dangers of a group of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. These chemicals are suspected of disrupting human brain development and of killing honeybees and other beneficial insects.
The European Commission has banned diphenylamine, DPA for short, on fruit raised in the 28 European Union member states and has imposed tight restrictions on imported fruit. DPA, a growth regulator and antioxidant, is applied after harvest to most apples conventionally grown in the U.S. and to some U.S.-grown pears, to prevent the fruit skin from discoloring during months of cold storage.
U.S. officials have not followed the Europeans in restricting either neonicotinoids or DPA.
Highlights of Dirty Dozen™ 2014
EWG's Dirty Dozen™ list of produce includes apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. Each of these foods contained a number of different pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items.
Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.
The Clean Fifteen™
EWG's Clean Fifteen™ for 2014 - the produce least likely to hold pesticide residues - are avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides.
Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
For the third year, we have expanded the Dirty Dozen™ with a Plus category to highlight two foods that contain trace levels of highly hazardous pesticides. Leafy greens - kale and collard greens - and hot peppers do not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ ranking criteria but were frequently contaminated with insecticides that are toxic to the human nervous system. EWG recommends that people who eat a lot of these foods buy organic instead.
Genetically engineered crops
Most processed food typically contains one or more ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops. But GE food is not often found in the produce section of American supermarkets. A small percentage of zucchini, yellow squash and sweet corn on grocery store shelves is GE. Most Hawaiian papaya is GE.
Others GE foods are currently being tested and may be approved by the USDA in the future. Since U.S. law does not require labeling of genetically engineered produce, EWG advises people who want to avoid GE crops to purchase organically-grown foods or items bearing the "Non-GMO Project Verified" label. EWG recommends that consumers check EWG's Shopper's Guide To Avoiding GE Food, which is designed to help them identify foods likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients.
This article can be found in more detail at http://www.ewg.org/foodnews