The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its newest Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides on Monday, which is Earth Day. And apples top its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues for the third year in a row.
Other changes from the 2012 findings: cherry tomatoes and hot peppers are newcomers this year. Blueberries and lettuce, meanwhile, dropped off the Dirty Dozen list. The environmental watchdog group uses data compiled by the USDA, based on pre-washed samples of 48 types of conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables, to produce its findings.
“I think most Americans would be very surprised about how prevalent pesticide residue is,” EWG senior analyst Sonya Lunder told Yahoo! Shine, noting that pesticides were still seen on 67 percent of the samples, which were all either washed or peeled before being tested.
Among the top three worst offenders—apples, strawberries and grapes—nearly every sample had pesticides on it, Lunder said, with one grape alone showing traces of 15 pesticides.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Services acknowledges that scientists do not have a full understanding of the health risks associated with exposure to pesticide residues through food, soil, water, or air. Still, notes EWG, various U.S. and international government agencies have linked pesticides to a slew of health risks, including cancer, hormone disruption, brain and nervous system toxicity and irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs.
To see the Dirty Dozen 2013 list visit Yahoo!Shine.