Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Strawberries, spinach top 'dirty dozen' produce with most pesticides

Strawberries, spinach top 'dirty dozen' produce with most pesticides

A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides.

Once again, strawberries top the list of the 12 "dirtiest" fruits and vegetables, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Roughly one-third of all the strawberry samples had at least 10 pesticides, according to the research.

On average, spinach samples contained nearly twice as much pesticide residue by weight compared to any other produce item tested.

Spinach samples had, on average, 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

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Avocados and sweet corn lead the pack. Less than 1 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.

Pineapples, cabbages, and onions also ranking high on the clean list.

The shopper's guide is based on results of tests by the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration on more than 38,800 non-organic samples.

Researchers ranked pesticide contamination in dozens of fruits and vegetables.

A total of 230 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products were found on the produce samples, according to USDA tests.

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Because organic farmers are more restricted on the types of pesticides they can use, organic foods are often lower in pesticides - especially synthetic varieties. A previous study of male participants found similar associations between consumption of high-residue produce and reproductive health. Both studies enrolled couples seeking treatment at a fertility clinic, and found that the frequency of eating low-residue fruits and vegetables was not associated with fertility problems.

The findings from the EARTH studies raise important questions about the safety of pesticide mixtures found on produce, and suggest that people should focus on eating the fruits and vegetables with the fewest pesticide residues.

EWG also has a companion list, the "Clean Fifteen", a list of the "cleanest" produce. The rest of the top 5 dirty dozen.Spinach, Nectarines, Apples and grapes.

"And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says today's fruits and veggies are safer than ever". The residues are so low, in fact, that an independent toxicological report from Dr. Robert Krieger of the Personal Chemical Exposure Program, University of California, Riverside, found that a small child could eat 154 servings of apples every day without any impact from any residues that might be present.

Landrigan, dean of global health and director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mt. Sinai, was the principal author of the National Academy of Sciences study, Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children.

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Many pesticides have been banned since 1996 when legislation was passed to require the EPA to study and regulate pesticides.

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