Each year The Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a list of the Dirty Dozen — fruits and vegetables so laden with pesticides that shoppers would be wise to avoid them. The list is often reported on in the media, with health advocates and other experts recommending that consumers buy organic produce in lieu of fruits and vegetables that are grown using pesticdes. But .. do you really have to buy organic?
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The risk that outweighs pesticide-packed produce, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is that people aren't eating enough vegetables, period. Only 1 in 10 gets enough — and if half of Americans added just one serving of veggies each day, 20,000 cases of cancer would be prevented each year.
Still worried about pesticides? The Food and Drug Administration says you just need to wash your produce before eating it to eliminate traces of pesticides.
If you do end up eating produce grown with pesticides — and let's be honest, it's a choice many consumers make for financial reasons alone — take heart. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology found that the EWG’s substitutions for the Dirty Dozen didn't reduce the risk of disease.
So go ahead and eat your vegetables, because regardless of their pesticide exposure, they're still pretty good for you.