Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

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It's Thanksgiving week, and many of us are headed to the grocery store for yams, apples, berries, and all sorts of produce. Choosing organic is often daunting because of the price. The good news is we can buy selectively, thanks to a handy shopping guide offered by the Environmental Working Group.

The EWG is a watchdog organization seeking to protect human health and raise awareness on environmental issues such as pesticides. Its free Shopper's Guide, now in its 5th edition, shows which fruits and vegetables are most apt to have significant pesticides. According to the EWG, consumers can reduce their exposure by 80 percent by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables.

This, of course, is valuable information for those fighting a toxic exposure such as mold. But it's also valuable to anyone who wants to lighten their toxic load even if their health is strong.

According to the EWG, "If consumers get their USDA-recommended 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables from the 15 most contaminated, they could consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest less than 2 pesticides daily."

Here are the 12 fruits and vegetables determined to be most contaminated. The EWG calls these the "Dirty Dozen":

· Peach
· Apple
· Bell Pepper
· Celery
· Nectarine
· Strawberries
· Cherries
· Kale
· Lettuce
· Grapes (imported)
· Carrot
· Pear

The "Clean 15" are as follows:

· Onion
· Avocado
· Sweet Corn
· Pineapple
· Mango
· Asparagus
· Sweet Peas
· Kiwi
· Cabbage
· Eggplant
· Papaya
· Watermelon
· Broccoli
· Tomato
· Sweet Potato

The Shopper's Guide can be downloaded free at this site.