How to Choose Produce Low in Pesticides - An Easy Printable Shopping Chart

About this Recipe

About The Author: Article written by Heidi Rasmussen, co-founder of Grandmother’s Kitchen, nutritionist (BSc Nutrition & Dietetics), yoga teacher (RYT), writer, and wellness researcher from British Columbia, Canada.

Making Shopping for Healthy Products Easier

In our own kitchens’ we are always looking to find and create easier ways to eat healthier and stay up to date on current research that is helpful.

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit website that has a mission to help individuals live healthier lives. Their team does the difficult detective work to find current research and education, with a goal to help consumers make better health choices with what they buy.

This website is excellent. They do the work of finding out what is in your tap water, what is in certain brands of shampoo, what are GMOS, what farms and factories are in your local area and so much more.

I started paying attention to this website when I was trying to find skin products that do not have chemicals that I don’t want on my skin in them. They compare product brands and give lists of what questionable chemicals are in the product and links to research that this may be I(or definitely is) a health concern.

They also put out an excellent guide for pesticides that they keep up to date labeled The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen.

If you scroll down below, we have created our own little visual shopping helpers of the information from this site that you can either print from the Print function, or else by saving the the large images below and printing them on your computer or through a local printing service. They are great for your fridge or for your wallet.

You can also bookmark this article or the links to EWG to find this information easily again.

Why I Like to Choose Organic Produce:

Aside from the simple general and undervalued fact that pesticides are literally meant to kills species, there is also very current research being conducted that supports many of the reasons that they are perhaps not the best thing for human exposure.

Some statements from current research publications related to pesticides. Definitely read more so you can make your own decisions of the evidence.

1.A 2018 study published in the a peer review journal called Environmental Research concluded that: Children living in vineyard rural areas are at a higher risk of airborne dithiocarbamates exposure during the summer period. Despite the limited size of our sample, our results suggest possible links between some pesticide measurements and respiratory and allergic symptoms such as rhinitis. Read more.

2. A 2018 study published in a peer reviewed journal called Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology Journal states that: “Poisoning from pesticides is a global public health problem and accounts for nearly 300,000 deaths worldwide every year.” and “Pesticides have shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases as well as various disorders of the respiratory and reproductive tracts.” Read more.

3. A 2018 study published in peer reviewed journal called Current Environmental Health Reports states their findings that: Using various instruments for exposure assessment including biomarkers, they have suggested alterations of subclinical health parameters at birth, increased risk of otitis at age 2, and increased risk of several types of childhood cancer.” Read more.

Like all health research, there are also studies that show that there are no health concerns related to pesticides.

Like the statements found in this 2019 study published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health that: ”The estimated lifetime average daily dose, incremental lifetime cancer risks and hazard quotient values revealed that there is less likelihood of carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic health risks on the local residents. Read more.

To me personally, the fact that so many researchers are really taking this seriously with studies and finding links to human health concerns is reason enough to avoid pesticide use and consumption as much as I personally can.

Of course, organic produce is undeniably more expensive which is why the little picture shopping guides below and the work of EWG is so useful in day to day life.

Don’t Forget ! Pesticides also May Hurt Honey Bees

Plant protection products, especially insecticides, can be toxic to bees.(4) There is a particular type of pesticides, called Neonic Pesticides, some of which have recently been banned in the E.U. “On the 20th of May 2018: The Commission has adopted the Regulations to completely ban the outdoor uses of imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.”(3) Of interest, these kinds of pesticides are still being used in United States produce being sold for human consumption.

If you love honey bees, you might also like this article about why we love honey bees and How to Choose Honey.

EWG’s 2018 Summary of Pesticides in Produce and How You Can Avoid Them

You can Read the full summary at the EWG website, but a breakdown of the findings are that current USDA tests found there was a total of 230 kinds of different pesticides and their breakdown products on the thousands of produce that were analyzed.

Most people don’t realize that even after produce is washed and peeled there are still pesticides in many cases. Also 70% of the samples in the above report of conventional (non-organic) grown product had pesticide residues on them.

People who eat organic produce eat fewer pesticides. A 2015 study (5) by researchers at the University of Washington found that people who ate more organic food has less markers of pesticides in their urine samples.


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Return to this How to Choose Produce Low in Pesticides - An Easy Printable Shopping Chart article or check out more recipes at Grandmother's Kitchen

References: (1) Dirty Dozen, EWG's 2018 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (2017), Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php Read more

(2) Clean Fifteen, EWG's 2018 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (2017), Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean-fifteen.php Read more.

(3) European Commission. Neonictonoids. Read more.

(4) European Commission. EU efforts for bee health. (Retrieved Jan.12, 2019). Read more.

(5) C.L. Curl et al., Estimating Pesticide Exposure from Dietary Intake and Organic Food Choices: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Environmental Health Perspectives, 2015. Available at ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1408197/ Read more.

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