The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen redux

I had seen an article on foods that are more often contaminated with pesticides and other chemicals and wrote a blog post on it ("Protect your kids, buy organic") on May 21st. Now I've got a follow-up to that post. To begin with, as I briefly alluded to in the May post, there's an Environmental Working Group (EWG) that makes recommendations to the public on a number of health-related issues. It's a 501(c)3 non-profit that was originally formed in 1993 and includes people from a variety of disciplines (e.g., scientists, engineers, lawyers). It also, since 2002, advocates Congress on health-protection and subsidy-shifting policies and publishes a variety of reports through its website I just signed up for several of its newsletters and read a study that may lead to my changing which cellphone I use.

"Prevention" magazine, in its August 2010 edition just published an article reviewing the recent version of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. I usually don't read this publication, but my spouse has a subscription and said I'd be interested in this particular article. When I originally found those lists in May, I clipped them from a newspaper, researched the background of the EWG, then made multiple copies of the lists and we started buying more organic foods than we had previously. Subsequently our 26-week Grant Family Farms (local CSA) Veggie Couples Share began and, as of yesterday, our 22-week Fruit Share began. But we're still buying some produce that doesn't come from our CSA. So I read the article in my wife's copy of "Prevention" with interest.

The writer went through the lists fruit and vegetable by fruit and vegetable and gave a cogent rationale for why each was on each list. For instance, take celery, which ranked number one on the Dirty Dozen list. When I first read that I wasn't at all sure why celery would be in the "These you really should buy in the Organic foods section." But the comment in the article made sense. Three quarters of our celery crop is grown in the fall and winter when weather conditions make contamination by bacteria and fungi more likely to occur. That added to the fact that we consume all of the celery stalk (I do cut of those leafy bits and the large end of the stalk), leads to repetitive spraying of the crop with pesticides. So buying organic celery now does make logical sense to me.

Try the EWG website and see if their work interests you as much as it does me.

One Response to “The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen redux”

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