DIRTY DOZEN, CLEAN FIFTEEN 2013
Originally published 13.11.13
I have always been pretty conscious about what I eat, even more so since I learnt that conventional farmers are using toxic fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides to grow our fruit and veg.
Different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
- brain and nervous system toxicity
- hormone disruption
- skin, eye and lung irritation
We are led to believe that these foods are 100% safe to consume however these toxins are absorbed into the produce and then into our bodies after we eat them. Even washing the produce does not rid the food of all the toxins, it may minimize the amount of pesticides but the majority have already soaked into the produce and cannot be removed.
For the past 9 years the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a Clean 15/Dirty dozen list which is designed to inform you of the produce that contain the most pesticides. All the EWG testing is performed on fruit and veg that has already been washed(with high pressure hoses we could only dream about in our kitchens). Further information about the EWG can be found at EWG.org.
THE DIRTY DOZEN
This list contains the produce with the highest rates of contaminants. Be sure to choose organic when purchasing the items in this list to help you reduce your exposure as much as possible.
-Sweet bell peppers/ capsicum
-Kale/ collard greens +
The last 2 we’re added in the + section as they did not completely fit the Dirty Dozen criteria however traces of pesticides were found on these vegetables which are very toxic to the nervous system. Two of the pesticides in question are highly toxic organophosphates and organochlorine pesticides. The later was phased out of agriculture in the 1970s and 1980s but still lingers on some farm fields.
THE CLEAN 15
These fruit and veges were found to contain the least amount of toxins and do not necessarily need to be organic. Please keep in mind that you can never be 100 % sure of the contaminants unless you buy organic- however these are great options when money is tight.
-Sweet peas (frozen)
Also if you can, start your own vege garden. By growing your own you know exactly how it is grown, it’s a lot of fun and you don’t need a huge amount of space. An added bonus is you can save a lot of cash. There are lots of books available on balcony and small space vege gardens I love coming home after a huge week at work and having a bit of a play in the garden, I actually find it therapeutic.
Have a great week.
* These lists are based on US produce however our farming practices are very similar so it is a great guideline to help us avoid consuming harmful chemicals.