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A father wears a baby while he grocery shops

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its 2022 “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists — a catalog of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest amounts of pesticide residue. Strawberries topped the “Dirty Dozen” list for the sixth year in a row.

Seventy percent of produce sampled, including strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and leafy greens, tested positive for pesticide residues.

This year’s study highlighted concern for the use of chlorpyrifos — a pesticide used on conventionally grown food crops that has been linked to brain damage in children and fetuses. The adverse effects pesticides have on children has been known since 1993. The EWG, among other organizations, has spent more than a decade urging the Environmental Protection Agency to ban chlorpyrifos from being used on food crops.

In 2021, they won that battle. While this is a milestone for the fight against the use of harmful food pesticides, the American Farm Bureau Federation and other groups representing conventional growers are currently suing to reverse the decision. Their initial attempt to block the ban was unsuccessful.

“Everyone should eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, no matter how they’re grown,” said EWG toxicologist Alexis Temkin, PhD. “But shoppers have the right to know what potentially toxic substances are found on these foods, so they can make the best choices for their families, given budgetary and other concerns.”

Take control of what you put in your body with this year’s EWG list of the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen”:

The Dirty Dozen:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell and hot peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

The Clean Fifteen:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Mangos
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet potatoes

For a full list of where various fruits and veggies rank, visit the EWG website.

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