DIRTY BAKER’S DOZEN

PES­TI­CIDE-RID­DEN FOODS YOU —AND THE BEES—SHOULD AVOID

Alternative Medicine - - Quick Nutrition - BY MICHAEL A. MILLER

When you are try­ing to en­ter­tain your child at meal­time, would you start up the en­gines of your “air­plane” if you knew it would dump a toxic pay­load con­tain­ing dozens of pes­ti­cides when it reached its fi­nal des­ti­na­tion—your in­fant’s mouth? Each year, the En­vi­ron­men­tal Work­ing Group (EWG) ranks the 12 types of pro­duce that are the “dirt­i­est” due to pes­ti­cide residues, and this year they in­cluded a thir­teenth “PLUS” cat­e­gory for good mea­sure.

The EWG bases its rank­ings off of six fac­tors that re­flect the over­all con­cen­tra­tions as well as types of pes­ti­cides on each food. While the EWG’s list is sim­ple and easy to use, we dug a lit­tle fur­ther to find out how many pes­ti­cides ap­pear in your food ac­cord­ing to the Pes­ti­cide Ac­tion Net­work. This or­ga­ni­za­tion uses the same USDA data as EWG to of­fer a more com­plete pic­ture. If you can pro­nounce all 12 most com­monly found pes­ti­cides, you win the prize.

1. Ap­ples

47 pes­ti­cide residues, 11 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Dipheny­lamine (DPA)

2. Peaches

62 pes­ti­cide residues, 20 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Flu­diox­onil, a mod­er­ate honeybee toxin

3. Nec­tarines

33 pes­ti­cide residues, 10 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Formetanate hy­drochlo­ride, a neu­ro­toxin and honeybee toxin

4. Straw­ber­ries

45 pes­ti­cide residues, 12 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Te­trahy­droph­thal­im­ide (THPI)

5. Grapes

56 pes­ti­cide residues, 19 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Imi­da­clo­prid, a honeybee toxin

6. Cel­ery

64 pes­ti­cide residues, 16 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Chlo­rantranilip­role

7. Spinach

54 pes­ti­cide residues, 20 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Per­me­thrin To­tal, a sus­pected hor­mone dis­rup­tor, honeybee toxin, prob­a­ble car­cino­gen

8. Sweet bell pep­pers

53 pes­ti­cide residues, 18 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Ox­amyl oxime

9. Cu­cum­bers

86 pes­ti­cide residues, 24 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Propamo­carb hy­drochlo­ride

10. Cherry toma­toes

69 pes­ti­cide residues, 22 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Bifen­thrin, a sus­pected hor­mone dis­rup­tor, honeybee toxin, de­vel­op­men­tal or re­pro­duc­tive toxin, and pos­si­ble car­cino­gen

11. Im­ported

snap peas

78 pes­ti­cide residues, 25 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Dimethroate, a sus­pected hor­mone dis­rup­tor, honeybee toxin, de­vel­op­men­tal or re­pro­duc­tive toxin, neu­ro­toxin, and pos­si­ble car­cino­gen

12. Pota­toes

35 pes­ti­cide residues, 9 of which are honeybee tox­ins THE MOST COM­MON: Chlor­popham, a honeybee toxin

13. Dirty Dozen Plus

EWG listed pro­duce that was found to carry trace amounts of highly haz­ardous pes­ti­cides. In 2015, leafy greens (kale and col­lard greens) and hot pep­pers made the list for con­tam­i­na­tion by in­sec­ti­cides that are toxic to the hu­man ner­vous sys­tem. It’s best to buy or­ganic when munch­ing on th­ese foods.

To avoid pes­ti­cides, it’s all about smart shop­ping choices. Buy­ing or­ganic se­verely lim­its your ex­po­sure to th­ese chem­i­cals, although this tac­tic can be pricy for some. With the Dirty Dozen shop­ping tool, you can make ed­u­cated de­ci­sions in the gro­cery store on which foods your fam­ily should be eat­ing or­ganic and which can re­main cost cut­ters.

BABY, DON’T CRY

In 2006, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion limited pes­ti­cide us­age in baby food to no more than 0.01 part per mil­lion. In the US, how­ever, there are no rules, and nearly 260 of 777 sam­ples of peach baby food tested by the USDA re­vealed one or more pes­ti­cides at con­cen­tra­tions higher than the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion would al­low—so maybe there is some­thing to cry about af­ter all.

BUSY BEES

Whether they know it or not (they don’t), honey­bees play a prom­i­nent part in global agri­cul­ture. They carry pollen on their ap­pendages, which is cru­cial in the process flow­er­ing plants un­dergo to cre­ate new seeds. With so many pes­ti­cides on crops that harm the honey­bees, they die from their pol­li­na­tion rit­u­als and put strain on the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try we de­pend on.

Yet there is ex­cit­ing sci­ence emerg­ing that tar­gets the prob­lem at its roots—by cre­at­ing a pact with the bees. Sci­en­tists are ex­per­i­ment­ing with hav­ing honey­bees tramp through nat­u­ral pes­ti­cides just out­side their hives, which they de­posit on flow­er­ing crops they in­tend to pol­li­nate. We save the bees by help­ing them pol­li­nate sans poi­son, and in turn, the bees save us by re­duc­ing the con­cen­tra­tion of harm­ful pes­ti­cides on our food.

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