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EWG’s 2021 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™


harmful chemical pesticides, according to Environmental Working Group's (EWG) analysis of the latest test data from the federal Department of Agriculture. This year, along with the items on our Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ lists, EWG is highlighting harmful fungicides detected on citrus fruits tested by USDA, as well as in tests we commissioned. Imazalil, a fungicide that can change


N


early 70 percent of the non-organ- ic fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially


hormone levels and is classifi ed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a likely human carcinogen, was detected on nearly 90 percent of citrus samples tested by EWG in 2020, and over 95 percent of tangerine samples tested by the USDA in 2019.


Kale remains in the third spot on our Dirty Dozen list, now joined by collard and mustard greens as being among the produce items with the highest pesticide load. After being tested for the fi rst time since 2012 and 2011, respectively, bell


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peppers and hot peppers are also included in this year’s list in the 10th spot. In USDA’s most recent tests, the pes- ticide most frequently detected on collard and mustard greens – as is also the case with kale – is DCPA, sold under the brand name Dacthal. The EPA classifi es DCPA as a possible human carcinogen, and in 2009 the European Union banned it. Other problematic pesticides on greens include the potentially neurotoxic neonicotinoids and pyrethroids. As they have in past years, peppers still contain concerning levels of acephate and chlorpyrifos – organophosphate insec- ticides that can harm children’s developing brains and are banned from use on some crops in the U.S. and entirely in the EU. In 2017, under the Trump administration, the EPA rejected a proposed chlorpyrifos ban, allowing it to remain on the market and in foods.


Whether organic or conventionally


grown, fruits and vegetables are critical components of a healthy diet. However, many crops contain potentially harmful pesticides, even after washing, peeling or scrubbing, which the USDA does before


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