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Apples top list of pesticide-laden produce

Mike Ryan/FlickrApples top the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of fruits and vegetables coated with pesticides.

Hopefully, you’re a fan of onions, corn and pineapple – and not so sweet on apples, celery and strawberries.

That’s because the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, released its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

According to its research, apples, celery and strawberries are covered with toxic pesticides, while onions, corn and pineapple are pretty clean.

The group ranked 53 fruits and vegetables using pesticide analyses conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2009.

The result: the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean 15." [PDF]

“Kids are eating a lot of pesticides, and parents using the guide can steer away from these foods,” Sonya Lunder, senior analyst with the group, told Greenwire, an environmental news wire service. “There is a need to be really careful and cautious when you’re pregnant and when you’re feeding children. During these times, pesticides can have major health effects.”

This is the seventh annual report released by the group on produce pesticide residue.

According to the executive summary of the report, pesticides were found on 98 percent of more than 700 apples tested, and 92 percent of apples had more than one type of pesticide residue.

"Pesticides, while designed specifically to kill certain organisms, are also associated with a host of very serious health problems in people, including neurological deficits, ADHD, endocrine system disruption and cancer," said Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. "My advice to consumers is to, whenever possible, avoid exposure to pesticides, including pesticide residues on food."

A spokeswoman from the Alliance for Food and Farming, a produce industry trade group, countered the report. 

In a statement, the organization accused the environmental group of manipulating the government's data and misleading consumers. The group said the government's data actually show that the residue levels found on fruits and vegetables are well below the safety levels set by the federal government.

Filed under: Environment, Daily Report


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