My acupuncturist Rena Zaid told me once that as a summer job she was once pesticising the veggie farm. She was wearing a special body, suit, including head cover and oxygen mask. After that experience she started eating organic only.
The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) list of the “Dirty Dozen” (apples, peaches, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, blueberries, grapes, potatoes, and spinach) and the “Clean 15” (watermelon, pineapple, mangoes, onions, avocados, sweet onions, asparagus, sweet corn, kiwis, cabbage, eggplant, broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes) is an excellent guide to pesticides in produce. In the case of the Clean 15, it is not necessarily to buy organic. But even with the Dirty Dozen, EWG says the benefit of eating fresh fruits and vegetables outweighs the known risks of consuming pesticide residue. Those are some of the biggest offenders:
CELERY is treated with up to 64 different pesticides. Every stalk has traces of chlorantraniliprole, which kills caterpillars, moths, and beetles by overstimulating their muscles to contract.
CHILEAN GRAPES have 34 different pesticides.
BLUEBERRIES are sprayed with 52 pesticides, including boscalid and pyraclostrobin, which are toxic to the human liver and ththyroid and can irritate the skin in high doses.
SWEET PEPPERS have tested positive for 50 pesticide residues, including 25 suspected hormone disruptors.
STRAWBERRIES, which act like sponges to absorb six carcinogens and 13 hormone disruptors, are especially problematic because they are so difficult to clean.
PEARS have been found to have residue from over two dozen pesticides, I including six carcinogens, 13 suspected hormone disruptors, eight neurotoxins, and four reproductive or developmental toxins.
APPLES are some of the most pesticide laden of non-organically-grown produce, with samples from around the United States containing over 40 different pesticide residues. Nine out of every 10 apples have traces of the fungicide thiabendazole, a known carcinogen. eight have diphenylamine, which is linked to bladder tumors. Workers who apply this pesticide need to wear long sleeves and gloves. Apples carry 40 other pesticides, including carcinogens, hormone disrupters, neurotoxins, and developmental toxins.