The Dirty Dozen


After posting the Environmental Working Groups official “Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 List of 2013”  On Facebook recently, we received some great questions. We thought this was good information for everyone to have, so we’ve included your questions and our answers below:


Q: We shouldn't be eating those 'dirty dozen'? That's a lot of fruit & veg to be without.


A:  Dr. Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure Biology at the Harvard School of Public Health explains that most pesticide exposure comes from everyday foods we eat. Children, with their lower body weight, are even more at risk. While the dirty dozen includes popular fruits and vegetables, it’s beneficial to buy their organic counterparts instead.


Q: Can’t we just wash them really well?


A:  All produce should be thoroughly scrubbed before eating, but this will only help remove grime and dirt from the surface.  When it comes to pesticides, many plants, fruits, and vegetables absorb the chemicals due to the systemic pesticides that are applied to th

e soil, the seed, and the leaves. These chemicals, which have not yet been declared as dangerous for human consumption by the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, come from the same family of chemicals as those implicated in the bee colony collapse we have seen in recent years.


Q: Kale and apples are very common nowadays… Why are they on this list then?


Test sampling has confirmed that conventionally grown kale often contains high levels of organophosphate insecticides which can allegedly be harmful to the nervous system.


Conventional apples also have high levels of pesticide residue.


Although many of the pesticide levels found in the dirty dozen are considered safe by the EPA, the agency has been working to phase out the most toxic to the human body. We think it’s scary that we are routinely ingesting the very same chemicals that are designed to kill off other living things, but fruits and vegetables are a critical part of a your diet. We simply recommend using caution and being aware of the potential chemicals, eating organic whenever possible!

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