What is in this article?:
The Environment Working Group's latest "Dirty Dozen" list reveals dirty pesticide practices, with apples jumping up three spots to number one. Are EPA's pesticide guidelines simply being ignored by growers or are tests improving?
'Safe' use of pesticides?
It's not a mystery that pesticides are harmful for health. The problem lies in exactly how much damage they can cause. "Pesticides are toxic," said Sonya Lunder, EWG's senior analyst. "They are designed to kill things and most are not good for you. The question is, how bad are they?"
International and domestic government agencies have linked pesticides to nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone system disruption and IQ deficits among children, according to the EWG. Some pesticides wash off in the rain; others can make the whole plant toxic.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets tolerance levels (maximum legally permissible levels) for pesticide levels in food.In order to use a pesticide, it must be registered for use with the EPA. A search query on apples performed today in the International Maximum Residue Level (MRL) Database revealed 112 pesticides with permanently established EPA tolerances. That's 112 pesticides approved for use on apples alone.
"Most of the pesticide residue amounts found on the tested produce were below the tolerance levels set by the federal government," said Sciammacco. "However, it only means the pesticide residue levels are within legal limits. It does not mean they are safe."
To reduce pesticide intake, EWG recommends choosing five servings of fruits and vegetables a day from the Clean 15 list. In doing so, the group says consumers will lower the volume and type of pesticides consumed by 92 percent.
Clean 15 (lowest in pesticides)
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Domestic cantaloupe
- Sweet potatoes