The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

I just started reading the classic “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. The book was first published in 1962, and became the spark that ignited the entire Green Movement. As a result of the newly awakened debate, a toxin known as DDT was outlawed in the United States, right before it had time to totally eradicate the bald eagle population. (It is still used in some tropical countries to battle malaria.) Only recently were the National Birds sufficiently recovered in numbers to be removed from the Endangered Species list.

DDT, however, was only one to be followed by thousands of others, and to this day, chemicals are being generously applied to the food we eat. Interestingly, synthetic pesticides were first developed during WWII and intended for chemical warfare. Humans learned to manipulate the carbon atom into all kinds of “unnatural” configurations to battle each other. As the new substances were tested on insects, another area of use was realized. The rest is history. Today, every living thing on this Earth carry evidence of these artificial molecular structures. Our bodies can’t process these foreign elements, and we probably won’t really know what kind of damage they do to our systems until it is too late.

Sometime in the mid-90’s, I saw a PBS Bill Moyers exposé called “In Our Children’s Food”. Among other things, it explored the relationship between pesticides and children. This is where I first learned that your standard carrot contains over 70 different chemicals! The best option to avoid it all, is of course to buy organic produce, but for the instances when that is not possible, it is good to know what your “good options” are. So when my good friend Hollye sent me this excellent list, I wanted to pass it on to as many as possible. Keep in mind that the “safe” levels, as designated by the EPA, the FDA and the USDA are calculated on adults and do not take into account the smaller bodies of children. I think I’m going to print this list out and keep it in my shopping bag…

“It’s critical people know what they are consuming,” the Environmental
Working Group’s Amy Rosenthal said. “The list is based on pesticide
tests conducted after the produce was washed with USDA high-power
pressure water system. The numbers reflect the closest thing to what
consumers are buying at the store.”

Special report: Toxic America

The group suggests limiting consumption of pesticides by purchasing
organic for the 12 fruits and vegetables.

“You can reduce your exposure to pesticides by up to 80 percent by
buying the organic version of the Dirty Dozen,” Rosenthal said.

The Dirty Dozen

Apples

Celery

Cherries

Domestic blueberries

Imported grapes

Lettuce

Nectarines

Peaches

Potatoes

Spinach, kale and collard greens

Strawberries

Sweet bell peppers

Not all non-organic fruits and vegetables have a high pesticide level.

Some produce has a strong outer layer that provides a defense against
pesticide contamination. The group found a number of non-organic
fruits and vegetables dubbed the “Clean 15” that contained little to
no pesticides.

The Clean 15

Asparagus

Avocados

Cantaloupe

Cabbage

Eggplant

Grapefruit

Kiwi fruit

Mango

Onions

Pineapples

Sweet corn

Sweet onions

Sweet potatoes

Sweet peas

Watermelon

What is a pesticide?

A pesticide is a mixture of chemical substances used on farms to
destroy or prevent pests, diseases and weeds from affecting crops.
According to the USDA, 45 percent of the world’s crops are lost to
damage or spoilage, so many farmers count on pesticides.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the FDA and the USDA work
together to monitor and set limits as to how much pesticide can be
used on farms and how much is safe to remain on the produce once it
hits grocery store shelves.

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About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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One Response to The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

  1. Pingback: Rainbow Salad and Pâté – Sure to Please my Mitochondria | The Creative Flux

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