When to Buy Organic

Article first published as Another Reason to Go Organic on Technorati.

 The market for organic foods has been growing rapidly. Growing concern about the effects of synthetic pesticides on the environment and health have resulted in 20% annual growth in retail sales of organic foods since 1990 (according to the USDA).

Given that these products typically cost more than the non-organic version and are less available, how do you know which foods are safe and which should be purchased organic?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce - which includes a "Dirty Dozen" list of the fruits and vegetables that are more likely to be contaminated with pesticides as well as a "Clean 15" list of the fruits and vegetables least likely to be contaminated.

EWG recommends buying organic for the "Dirty Dozen":

  1. Apples

  2. Celery

  3. Strawberries

  4. Peaches

  5. Spinach

  6. Nectarines (imported)

  7. Grapes (imported)

  8. Sweet bell peppers

  9. Potatoes

  10. Blueberries (domestic)

  11. Lettuce

  12. Kale/collard greens

The "Clean 15" are:

  1. Onions

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapple

  4. Avocado

  5. Asparagus

  6. Sweet peas

  7. Mangos

  8. Eggplant

  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)

  10. Kiwi

  11. Cabbage

  12. Watermelon

  13.  Sweet potatoes

  14. Grapefruit

  15. Mushrooms

The EWG reports that by opting for 5 servings of fruits or vegetables off of the "Clean 15" list instead of the "Dirty Dozen" list can reduce the volume of pesticides ingested by 92%.

Pesticides have been linked to numerous health issues, including birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and even more for children according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  Experts have even linked pesticide consumption in children to ADHD.

The complete Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce can be downloaded from EWG's site.

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