16 Most Contaminated Fruits

Our world seems to be increasingly toxic.  And while I feel rather confident that switching to a vegan diet has eliminated the most harmful offenders from my daily intake, I am aware that pesticides are something I can't escape in my every day life.  I recently came across a website that's worth sharing...  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has compiled some information about pesticides and produce.

The produce ranking was developed by analysts at the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) based on the results of nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2005. A detailed description of the criteria used in developing the rankings is available as well as a full list of fresh fruits and vegetables that have been tested.

The EWG has ranked fruits and vegetables according to their pesticide load (100 represents the highest pesticide load).   According to their rankings, here are the Un-Sweet Sixteen...  these fruits and veggies have rankings over 50...

RANK

FRUIT OR VEGGIE

SCORE

1 (worst)

Peaches

100 (highest pesticide load)

2

Apples

96

3

Sweet Bell Peppers

86

4

Celery

85

5

Nectarines

84

6

Strawberries

83

7

Cherries

75

8

Lettuce

69

9

Grapes - Imported

68

10

Pears

65

11

Spinach

60

12

Potatoes

58

13

Carrots

57

14

Green Beans

55

15

Hot Peppers

53

16

Cucumbers

52

In case you're wondering, there were two vegetables which scored a 1; onions and avocados.  Tomatoes weren't too shabby either at 30, so it looks like salsa is a good thing.

Click here for the EWGs complete list.

And here's what the EWG recommends you do to reduce your exposure to pesticides on produce:

Nearly all of the data used to create these lists already considers how people typically wash and prepare produce (for example, apples are washed before testing, bananas are peeled). While washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

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