Each year the Environmental Working Group publishes a list of produce items that are low and high in pesticide residues after standard washing. You can read about their process and details on pesticide use in food production, along with a downloadable Shoppers Guide at www.FoodNews.org.
It is prudent to avoid foods high in pesticides. Pesticides often contain organophosphate compounds. These chemicals rise and fall in our body associated with exposure to pesticides in food. Organophosphates have been linked to attention deficit disorder and endocrine disruption.
These are lowest in pesticide, herbicide and fungicide residues. Choose organic when you can, but when you cannot find organic options for these foods, negative physical and mental health risks are low.
- Corn (but often genetically modified, choose organic)
- Sweet peas, frozen
- Papaya (but often genetically modified, choose organic)
- Sweet potatoes
These are highest in pesticide, herbicide and fungicide residue. Choose organic for these foods:
- Hot peppers
- Nectarines, imported
- Sweet bell peppers
Dirty Dozen Plus
These foods are not extremely high in residue but the pesticides used are especially dangerous. Choose organic:
- Collards and kale
- Summer squash and zucchini