June 30, 2012

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It’s common knowledge that repeated exposure to the pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers often found on grocery store produce can be harmful to your health, but did you know that those chemicals affect sea life (and seafood) too? Pesticides that flush from farm fields down waterways into the ocean accumulate in fish – especially those in near-shore coastal areas and estuaries. The Food and Drug Administration warns that repeated exposure to seafood contaminated with pesticides poses a human health hazard.

Now that it’s peak produce season, there’s a lot of buzz about how to pick the best fruits and veggies – and what kinds of pesticides and other chemicals might be on them. That little “organic” sticker can mean a bigger price tag, so sometimes it’s nice to be able to prioritize what to buy organic based on which fruits and veggies carry the highest pesticide risk. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just came out with their annual “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides” to help health-conscious consumers do just that. You can see their “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists for a summary of their rankings, and download the app.
© Environmental Working Group 2012
There’s also an app by the Pesticide Action Network(PAN) for their “What’s on My Food?” campaign that “links pesticide food residue data with the toxicology for each chemical, making this information easily searchable for the first time” (PAN 2012). This useful tool is made possible in part by the David B. Gold Foundation – a family foundation in San Francisco dedicated to developing positive human potential and enriching quality of life in the communities they serve.
© Pesticide Action Network 2012
Next time you’re browsing the supermarket shelves or farmer’s market stands, you can use EWG’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides” and PAN’s “What’s on My Food” apps to make smart choices about organic produce and keep yourself, your family, and your ocean healthy.
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