An investigation published in 2010 found that children with higher-than-average pesticide levels in their bodies were twice as like to have symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD). Each year 12 million pounds of pesticides with suspected links to ADHD are sprayed on foods intended for children.
What’s a parent do? Shop organic as much as possible. Buying organic reduces you and your family’s exposure to persistent, toxic herbicides and pesticides, which have been linked to birth defects, cancer, and other serious health concerns.
If you’re on a tight budget, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) can help. Each year, the nonprofit tracks levels of pesticides in produce and then creates two helpful lists for shoppers: The Dirty Dozen (most contaminated produce) and the Clean 15 (conventionally grown items with the lowest pesticide residue). According to EWG, you can lower your family’s pesticide intake substantially by avoiding conventionally produced varieties of the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables.
THE DIRTY DOZEN: BUY THESE ORGANIC
apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, domestic blueberries, lettuce, and kale or collard greens.
THE CLEAN 15
onions, *sweet corn, pineapples, avocados, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, domestic cantaloupe, kiwis, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms.
*The EWG suggests that since genetically modified sweet corn is not labeled as such in the US, anyone with concerns about GMOs may want to choose organic sweet corn. For more information, visit www.nongmoproject.org.