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know your risk for pesticide exposure

by Sandy Todd Webster on Aug 23, 2011

Food for Thought

Consider clipping the following lists and keeping them in your purse or wallet to refer to when you grocery-shop. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released the seventh edition of its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, with updated information on 53 fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide loads. EWG highlights the worst offenders with its Dirty Dozen™ list and the cleanest conventional produce with its Clean 15™ list.

Apples jumped up three spots to take this year’s “dirtiest” title. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pesticides showed up on 98% of the more than 700 apple samples tested.

2011 Dirty Dozen

1. apples

2. celery

3. strawberries

4. peaches

5. spinach

6. nectarines (imported)

7. grapes (imported)

8. sweet bell peppers

9. potatoes

10. blueberries (domestic)

11. lettuce

12. kale/collard greens

The Clean 15 are also included in the report. These are the fruits and veggies with the lowest levels of pesticides, so there’s no need to spend extra money on organic versions. Popular items include watermelon and avocado. EWG points out that if consumers simply chose their recommended five servings of produce per day from the least contaminated list over five from the Dirty Dozen list, they would reduce the amount of pesticides they ingested by 92%—without having to spend more money for organics.

2011 Clean 15

1. onions

2. sweet corn

3. pineapples

4. avocados

5. asparagus

6. sweet peas

7. mangoes

8. eggplant

9. cantaloupe (domestic)

10. kiwi

11. cabbage

12. watermelon

13. sweet potatoes

14. grapefruit

15. mushrooms

EWG’s Shoppers Guide is available for free as a PDF download at www.ewg.org/foodnews/. An iPhone app will be available in the near future. For a small donation, consumers can also have a version of the guide sent to them as a bag tag that can be attached to reusable shopping bags. Alternatively, you can cut out this list and laminate it.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.