The 2017 list of the Dirty Dozen is out. Should we be giving up strawberries and spinach, or buying organic?
One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is whether it’s worth the extra money to buy organic food. I’ve written about this in the past, and since the Environmental Working Group just recently published their annual list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15, it seems like a good time for a recap.
In case you’re not familiar, The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 are lists of the top fruits and vegetables with the highest, and lowest amounts of detectable pesticide residues. This year, strawberries and spinach took the top spots. Some strawberry samples tested contained 21 different types of chemicals (including pesticides, fungicides, insecticides) many of which are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental damage, hormone disruption and neurological problems.
The test results on spinach found similar results – 16 types of chemicals were found in some batches. Seventy-five percent of the samples contained residues of the insecticide permethrin. At high doses, permethrin overwhelms the nervous system and causes tremors and seizures. In one study, children with detectable levels of permethrin in their urine were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.