Produce Clean Up & Cancer Risk Is In the Spotlight


Very carefully washing and peeling our fresh fruits and vegetables and buying organic, are established rules that we all understand. But the recent reports from the Environmental Protection Agency and the President’s Cancer Panel are making it clear this is not just one more routine to talk about. We need to do as much as possible right now to make it happen.

Fighting agricultural pesticides is a must to reduce cancer risk.

As the authorities continue to probe the dangers of widespread pesticides that contain toxic glyphosate, we need to work harder from the other end and avoid as much of these pesticides as we can.

Where do we start?

One quick option is to choose as much of the cleaner produce as we can and buy organic when we are buying the dirtier produce. PBS made this easier by giving us a “clean and dirty” produce list. Some authorities estimate we could lower our pesticide intake by as much as 90 percent with the help of these lists.

Squeaky Clean Produce

Only one percent of these show pesticide residue. Avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi fruit, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, papayas, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and sweet onions.

Dirty Dozen Produce

Apples top the list followed by peaches, nectarines, strawberries, domestic blueberries, nectarines, lettuce, grapes, celery, spinach, kale, collard greens, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas, imported grapes, and potatoes.

Note – leafy greens and hot peppers were so loaded with produce that they were special stamped, “Dirty Dozen Plus!”

Another option is to grow your own.

Patio gardens, community gardens, old fashioned backyard garden plots, and roof gardens are all happening with a lot of bonus results, beyond the pesticide issue.

Kids are learning a lot more about their food as they get involved, enjoying the whole process, and often carting their efforts off to school for “show and tell.” From planting the seeds to harvesting that first pepper or tomato from your own backyard, this can be a great experience.

I have yet to make time to do it, but I am determined to have a whole boxful of fresh spinach, and other one of prime lettuces, started this spring. Since both of these are on the dirty list, and my healthy, love to eat list, there’s a lot of incentive here.

Use non-toxic natural choices at home.

Using natural choices instead of heavy duty commercial weed killers at home is also the obvious backup. Vinegars, fatty acids and clove, pine and peppermint oils all work as healthy choice natural weed killers.

Start now to make your crisp green salads and bowls of fresh fruit as healthy as you can make them.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Marcus Melendez