People often ask "what do I need to buy organic?" Well here it is. This year's Dirty Dozen. The Environmental Working Group puts out a list every year of the 12 fruits and vegetables that have the highest levels of pesticide residue even after washing.
- Bell peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
This year strawberries top the list. They contain 5.75 different chemicals per sample while all other produce samples combined contain 1.74 pesticides per sample. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, reproductive damage, and hormone disruption and many are banned in Europe. Strawberry farmers use a combination of over 60 different pesticides in various combinations along with very toxic fumigants to sterilize the soil before planting. Another issue with chemical pesticides is that very few studies have been done on the effect of small doses of multiple chemicals on the human body.
It is best to buy organic if you can but especially for these 12 fruits and vegetables. Keep this in mind when you are eating out because likely the restaurant is not buying organic. Even the salad/prepared food bars at Whole Foods are largely not organic. If your store is anything like ours it is a pretty small section that is organic.
If you want reduce your exposure or your immune system is compromised, try washing your produce in a mixture of white vinegar and water.
- Pour 1/4 - 1/2 cup of vinegar into a large bowl
- Fill with water.
- Place your fruits and vegetables in the bowl to soak for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse with fresh water and you are ready to go.
Or you can make your own spray bottle with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Just spray thoroughly. Let sit and then rinse throughly.
This method helps kill 98% of bacteria and most pesticides.