How can you know which fruits and vegetables are ok to buy without the added cost of purchasing organic? Every year the Environmental Working Group publishes the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists. These publications rate foods according to which have the highest and lowest pesticide residue to help shoppers determine which foods to buy organic and which are okay to buy conventional. Although ideally every shopper should be able to purchase organic fruits and vegetables, the reality is that organic often costs more. By heeding the EWG’s 2012 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists, health-concerned shoppers can still get the most for their money and minimize their pesticide exposure.
Lists change slightly from year to year, so it’s important to recheck each year, and more importantly, take a copy of it with you to the grocery store! Why are pesticides particularly harmful for hormone dependent cancers? Many pesticides cause estrogenic effects or effects that mimic estrogen in the body. The majority of breast cancers are fueled by estrogen so any added estrogen to our diets should be avoided.
Research has established a strong link between estrogen activity induced by organochlorine pesticides (containing chlorine), and the risk of developing breast cancer. The results are significant. Patients with very high estrogen levels due to pesticide residues run four times more risk of developing the disease than patients with undetectable or very low levels. So far, 568 chemical products have been identified that affect our hormones.
Dirty Dozen Plus™
These items are listed in worst to least in terms of pesticide residue.
- Sweet bell peppers
Lowest in Pesticide:
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
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So today’s tip is buy organic…if you can’t always do so, buy the dirty dozen in organic and the clean fifteen from the conventional isle. When I buy conventional, I soak the fruits or vegetables in a sink full of water to which I add a cup of apple cider vinegar and soak them for five minutes. This is a natural way to help remove pesticides. Always rinse thoroughly afterwards.