I’ll be the first to admit I’m a little neurotic.
One of my neuroses involves a paranoia of chemicals — in short, I know human beings are routinely exposed to a litany of chemicals and I wonder if that has something to do with the scary health diagnoses I hear about every day.
One of the worst places for a person with chemophobia (that is a real word) is the grocery store produce department. If it isn’t organic, then what was used to keep all the pesky bugs and fungi from devouring or damaging it?
Despite the chemophobia, I do not buy all organic. That’s because one of my other neuroses revolves around money — buying organic is generally more expensive.
So what is an average-income person to do in order to save money without ingesting enough chemicals to make her glow in the dark?
The Dirty Dozen is a good place to start.
Minimize your exposure
For nine years, the non profit, Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group has analyzed pesticide data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration to come up with an annual shopper’s guide they call the Dirty Dozen.
I love this concept because it means that, according to the EWG, you can greatly minimize your family’s intake of pesticides by purchasing organic versions of specific fruits and vegetables rather than trying to go completely organic, which can be cost-prohibitive for many people.
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Here’s an addendum to today’s column: The EWG compares pesticide levels in almost 50 different fruits and veggies. The cleanest 15 are named the Clean Fifteen while the most chemical-ridden 12 are the Dirty Dozen. In between fall a number of other products. To see the entire list of 48, click here.
Do you buy organic produce? Do you think you’ll use the Dirty Dozen list to help inform your purchasing decisions?