The dirty dozen – sounds like it could be the next Quentin Tarantino movie, doesn’t it?* But you guessed it, it is not. So, what’s up with the dirty dozen?
The dirty dozen is a list that gets put together by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) every year based on the amount of pesticides and chemicals they contain. Meaning that the item at the very top of the list contains the highest amount of pesticides, and therefore it is not considered a wise food choice.
To make it easy, when you cannot remember the list, think of it like this. The more fragile the vegetable or fruit is, the larger is the chance for damage during transportation. This means an increase in using food spray and anti-mold chemicals to make sure that vegetable or fruit does not get damaged. Also, the more porous the skin is on the fruit and veggies, the more it will absorb everything that has been sprayed on it. It will basically act as a sponge, like strawberries for example. This is important to think about, because once it has been absorbed by the fruit or veggies you cannot simply rinse it off. Still need some more help with the list? EWG has an app to help you out.
Not only does these different chemicals mess with our liver and kidneys (that have to work very hard to try and filter them out of our bodies). These chemicals also interfere with our nervous system. A common misconception is that nerve toxins used to kill insects are not very harmful to humans. This is not true as they are toxic to our nervous system and neural development . They also interfere with our hormonal system (one of the most used herbicide in the world, Atrazine, is a known endocrine disruptor), and the nutrients in the food by making it harder for our bodies to absorb them.
Here is the current Dirty Dozen list from 2017
- Sweet bell peppers
But, what about organic food costing more? Yes, it does cost a bit more, but it is an investment in yourself and your family. I think that it is very important to buy organic produce. We are getting enough pollution through every day life, and I believe we do not need to add even more to our bodies through food. Did you know that “at least 107 different active ingredients in pesticides have been found to cause cancer in animals or humans; of these 71 are still in use on food crops”. If taking the step to buy organic seems like a lot to you, at least start thinking about omitting the biggest offenders on the dirty dozen list. You will be doing yourself a big favor by reducing the amount of poisonous chemicals that your body has to deal with on a daily basis.
Did you know that people who are allergic to a certain vegetable or fruit are most likely allergic to the pesticides and food sprays on it, and not the actual food itself.
Think of the nutrients and organic food as strong clean building blocks for “the house” (you) that you are constantly building. Think of the pesticides, food sprays and other chemicals of acting like heavy duty fungus, mold and termites in this metaphor. You may not notice that they are there right away, but after a while they can and will destroy your entire house. What kind of building blocks are you interested in choosing for “your house”?
Spread the word, not pesticides! 😉
* Actually the Dirty Dozen is a World War II movie from 1967
 According to the National Campaign for Pesticide Policy Reform. p.418 Staying Healthy with Nutrition
 Endocrine Disrupters. p.418 Staying Healthy with Nutrition
 Misconceptions about Pesticides p.432 Staying Healthy with Nutrition