This Harvard study found an unfortunate connection between fertility issues and pesticides on our food
We’re inclined to think that we’re doing ourselves a favor by choosing to snack on fruits and vegetables rather than chips and cookies. And while that logic obviously carries merit, the pesticide residue on said fruit and vegetables can pose big problems for your body. In fact, a recent study from Harvard School of Public Health found a link between consumption of high-pesticide residue foods and fertility issues in both women and men.
To help the public make better choices at the grocery store when it comes to buying fruits and veggies low in pesticides, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
The guide is an analysis of the tests done on produce by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It lists the “Dirty Dozen,” or produce high in pesticide residue, and the “Clean Fifteen,” foods that carry little to no pesticide residue. For example, one of the veggies on the Dirty Dozen chopping block is spinach. According to the EWG, 97% of conventional spinach samples contained pesticide residues — almost two times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.
Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at EWG and lead author of the 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, told HelloGiggles, "The lists help people find conventional fruits and vegetables with low concentrations of pesticide residues. If a particular item is likely to be high in pesticides, people can go for organic."
The negative effects of ingesting pesticides is not new information. Twenty-five years ago, the National Academy of Sciences reported on the health risks associated with children’s exposure to toxic pesticides. In response to studies like the above, in 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was scheduled to ban the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. But after receiving “complaints” from the pesticide’s creator Dow Chemical, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed the action.
At this point, it’s up to the public to monitor their pesticide intake and the EWG hopes their Shopper’s Guide will help consumers make healthier choices.
Lunder continued, "Fruits and vegetables are very important for your health, but for those on the Dirty Dozen, we recommend buying the organic versions if you want to avoid pesticides on your food. Consumers can feel confident that conventionally grown fruits and veggies on the Clean Fifteen list have very few pesticide residues."
Not only is the guide helpful for consumers, but it also acts as a “call to action for regulators,” Lunder told us.
"For decades, various toxic pesticides were claimed to be 'safe' — until they weren't, and either banned or phased out because they posed risks to people," Lunder said. "While regulators and scientists debate these and other controversies about pesticide safety, EWG will continue drawing attention to the fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide loads."
You can sign up to receive the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce via email right here.
Pay attention to the foods you consume and choose organic when you can. Pesticides can have nasty consequences on our bodies and, unfortunately, right now it’s up to us to keep the chemicals out of our daily diets.