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The Truth About Produce, Pesticides, And The Dirty Dozen

By: Nichole Jaworski
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(Photo by Jasjeet Plaha/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jasjeet Plaha/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

CBS Charlotte (con't)

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(CBS Charlotte) — While it is important to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, have you ever wondered about the dangerous pesticides that may be lurking on the “healthy” foods you eat?

Pesticides are used to help farmers protect their crops from insects and other nuisances, but do the risks of pesticide use outweigh the benefits?

The truth is alarming to say the least — most pesticides do not stay where they are intended to, but rather they are dispersed into the air and travel by way of the wind to other areas in our environment. The use of pesticides has unintended consequences, as pesticides pollute our air and water supply, in addition to contributing to various ailments. Furthermore, most human beings have pesticides stored in their fat deposits.

Long term pesticide exposure can cause various types of cancers, in addition to birth defects, changes in your genetic structure, and blood and nerve disorders.

(Related Article: Ways To Reduce Arsenic In Your Diet)

Where produce and pesticides are concerned, consumers falsely assume that as long as they wash their produce, they remove harmful pesticides. On the contrary — the fruits and vegetables that you eat often contain harmful pesticide residue, even after being washed. Moreover, washing your produce with Fruit & Vegetable Wash  has not been proven to remove pesticides more than washing your produce with water.

While washing your produce is recommended, and will remove dirt and perhaps a percentage of pesticides, traces of pesticides inevitably remain despite washing.

Buying organic produce is an excellent way to reduce your pesticide exposure, however, buying organic can be costly and is not always realistic.

Certain fruits and vegetables contain more pesticides on the skin than others. For several years now, awareness about the “Dirty Dozen” has grown in popularity. The Dirty Dozen is comprised of fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. It is recommended that when consuming these fruits and vegetables, that people purchase organic. Alternatively, there is also a “Clean 15″ list. Produce in the Clean 15 category contain the least amount of pesticides, and therefore, do not need to be purchased in organic form.

2013 Dirty Dozen List

Sweet bell peppers
Cherry tomatoes
Hot peppers

2013 Clean 15 List

Sweet potatoes
Sweet peas – frozen

- Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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