Recently released information from tests of grocery produce by Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) found chemicals and pesticides in
#1 Apples. Apples rank most pesticide-contaminated produce.
#7 sweet bell peppers
#8 imported nectarines
# 10 potatoes
#11 cherry tomatoes
#12 hot peppers
Pesticide residue tests conducted by USDA and FDA scientists who made public their recent 2013 results take into account washing or peeling the food samples before they were tested, providing measurements of likely pesticide loads of produce when people eat it. Many pesticides pose health dangers to people and have been linked to brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, skin, and eye and lung irritation.
Results remained troubling for some baby foods purchased in American stores. Green beans canned for baby food tested positive for five pesticides, including the toxic organophosphates methamidophos and acephate, detected on 14 and 13 percent of samples respectively. EPA and producers have voluntarily agreed to remove these two chemicals from agriculture due to health concerns. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents more than 60,000 pediatricians, for the first time adopted an official position warning doctors and parents that pesticide exposures from food are potentially dangerous to children's health.
What to do:
1. Buying organic is your best bet, says the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, especially if you know your sources you are purchasing from. "Organic" does not automatically mean "pesticide-free" or "chemical-free". In fact, under the laws of most states, organic farmers are allowed to use a wide variety of chemical sprays and powders on their crops. So what does organic mean? It means that these pesticides, if used, must be derived from natural sources.
2. Eat cleaner foods. The cleanest among those tested with the least pesticide load include: corn, onions, pineapples, avocados, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, papayas, mangoes, asparagus, eggplant, kiwi, grapefruit, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and mushrooms.
Note: Zucchini, Hawaiian papaya and some varieties of sweet corn may be genetically modified.