Time to Brush Up
I've blogged about the dirty dozen before, yada yada yada....well I thought it's high time to refresh your collective memories, especially since I know a lot of folks are forgoing organics to save some dough. This list is a good way to hold off on the pricey organics and when not to:
*List and description cut and pasted from Lime
1.Peaches. Peaches are tough to grow: insects love them as much as humans do and they find it easy to penetrate the thin skin on these juicy treats. They’re also prone to fungal and other diseases while on the tree, and are routinely sprayed with pesticides and fungicides during various stages of development. If insects can get through, so can these substances. According to the EWG, peaches had the highest likelihood of multiple pesticides on a single sample.
2.Apples. Also very attractive to insect pests, apples are typically sprayed with pesticides and petroleum-based horticultural oil (another insect control; it works by smothering them) at numerous times during their growing cycle. Varieties that are susceptible to fungal diseases are sprayed for that as well. Pesticide residues are difficult to remove as they tend to pool in apples’ dips and curves. Apple stems also wick substances into their cores.
3.Sweet bell peppers. The EWG found sweet bell peppers the vegetable with the most pesticides detected on a single sample, coming in at 11. European corn borers are their biggest threat, but far from the only one, which means that peppers are peppered with chemicals throughout their growing season. Thick skins offer protection from infiltration but also make it difficult to remove pesticide residue.
4.Celery. Celery is noted as a “heavy feeder,” which means it needs a lot of food and water when growing. If toxins are present in the soil it grows in and the water it’s given… well, you get the idea. This crunchy vegetable also tested as a significant source for pesticide residue, with the highest percentage of samples testing positive for pesticides. Tests also showed that pesticides concentrate in the bottom of bunches of celery stalks, where water collects.
5.Nectarines. Like pretty much all fruit crops, nectarines attract insects and are prone to fungal diseases. They’re also thin skinned, so anything used to treat them easily infiltrates their tissues.
6.Strawberries. Strawberries grow low to the ground and sometimes right on it, which makes them susceptible to soil-related issues. And, of course, insects love to munch on them. Growing strawberries conventionally means hitting them regularly with chemicals, including fertilizers, because the chemicals applied to strawberry fields to keep them safe from soil pathogens also kill the good things in soil that could feed them. Strawberries also absorb pesticides through their stalks.
7.Cherries. Like other tree fruits, cherries regularly come under attack by various insect pests, fungi, and diseases, and are sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, and horticultural oils. Some applications begin before the growing season starts.
8.Lettuce. Low-growing lettuce is prone to fungal and viral diseases caused by poor air circulation and excess moisture. Like celery, lettuce plants are heavy feeders, so pesticides in water are an issue as well.
9.Grapes (imported). Grapes in general can develop mildew and fungus problems and are routinely treated for both conditions. The EWG ranks imported grapes separately (and higher) than domestic grapes because they’re also often treated with methyl bromide to guard against fruit fly infestations.
10.Pears. Another thin-skinned fruit that insects love to munch on. They can be sprayed as many as nine times during the growing season for various insect pests.
11.Spinach. Like lettuce, it grows close to the ground, which makes it vulnerable to insect infestations and mildew. Tests also show that spinach plants uptake pesticides through their stalks.
12.Potatoes. Potatoes grow in the ground or just above it; soil-borne pathogens and ground-hugging insects are key issues here. Many potatoes are waxed before shipping, making pesticide residues difficult to remove.