Triple play: EWG posts 'Dirty Dozen' list of fresh produce items

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Roughly one-third of all the strawberry samples had at least 10 pesticides, according to the research. "The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future".

Avocados lead 2018's clean fruits and veggies list, followed by sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and broccoli.

So whatever produce you buy scientists say just washing it under running tap water for 30 seconds should eliminate any leftover pesticides.

The list focuses on conventionally grown produce.

The USDA tests found a total of 230 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the thousands of produce samples analyzed.

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If you take a more cautious approach to pesticides, but can't afford to shop exclusively organic, Lunder said choose conventional for those foods on the Clean Fifteen list. After strawberries and spinach come nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers. Nearly all spinach samples (97 percent) contained pesticide residues, while 94 percent of nectarine samples contained at least two pesticides. The results are based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's test of 38,800 samples.

Each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce.

More than 80% of pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions and cabbages had no pesticide residues.

The organization cautions that a small portion of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the USA is produced from genetically modified seeds. One sample, in particular, had an "astounding" 22 pesticide residues found.

Less than 1% of samples of avocados and sweet corn showed any detectable pesticides.

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"It is vitally important that everyone eats plenty of produce, but it is also wise to avoid dietary exposure to toxic pesticides, from conception through childhood", EWG senior analyst Sonya Lander said in the release. The Environmental Protection Agency was mandated by the federal Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 to enhance the regulation of pesticides and reduce the rate children are exposed to pesticides.

"There is a reason pediatricians encourage parents to consult EWG's guide and take other steps to reduce their child's exposure pesticides", said Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NY.

Americans consume pesticides every day, according to the report.

Landrigan, dean of global health and director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mt. Sinai, was the principal author of the National Academy of Sciences study, Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children.

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