(NaturalNews) Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC, has released its latest edition of its Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. The guide helps supermarket shoppers make healthier choices by offering a quick reference to the "Dirty Dozen" list (the produce most contaminated by pesticides) and the "Clean 15" (the produce least contaminated).
According to the 2011 guide, it would be wise to buy apples that are organically grown as they have the highest concentrations of pesticides. Celery and strawberries contain the next highest levels of pesticide residue. Produce such as onions, sweet corn and pineapples have the lowest residues of pesticides and so are relatively safe to buy conventionally grown.
It is accepted that pesticides are extremely toxic to both the environment and human health. Many research institutions and government agencies, such as Environmental Working Group or the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, have linked pesticides to nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, IQ deficits among children, and other health problems.
"Though buying organic is always the best choice, we know that sometimes people do not have access to that produce or cannot afford it," said EWG President Ken Cook. "Our guide helps consumers concerned about pesticides to make better choices among conventional produce, and lets them know which fruits and vegetables they may want to buy organic."
According to EWG, people can consume 92% less pesticides if they eat conventionally grown fruits and vegetables from the "Clean 15" list rather than the "Dirty Dozen" list. Not only will the amount of chemicals be massively decreased, but it was also found that fewer types of pesticides would be consumed. Eating five servings of fruit or vegetables from the Dirty Dozen would average the ingestion of 14 different pesticides per day. Eating the same amount from the Clean 15 would average about two pesticides per day. This is significant since little is known about the interactions and synergistic toxicity of pesticide chemical compounds.
In order to get this information, Analysts at EWG collected and processed data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2000 to 2009. Researchers then tested each food using six factors as markers to reflect the level and types of pesticides found. Foods were washed and peeled before being tested in order to reproduce the amounts of the chemicals likely present on the food when is it eaten.
Dave Gabriele, D.Ac, BA, is a registered acupuncturist, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine and a health researcher helping people in and around the Greater Toronto Area. He is the founder of Life Balance Family Health Care (www.balanceyourlife.ca), an organization committed to providing people with the information and guidance they need to make positive lifestyle changes. Dave has been a teacher of Chinese martial arts since 1997, including the arts of Taiji and Qigong.