Disclaimer: The data given below is collected in the States, not India. But I would say any leafy greens, cauliflower, and green peas are the most dangerous ones when it comes to pesticides and fertilizer usage in India.
I will always argue in support of organic but if you can’t then at least you should consider following vegetables that you should either buy organic or avoid altogether.
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting healthier living and a safer environment, and also serving as a regulatory authority to safeguard infants and children from harmful pesticides in our food system, has recently released its annual list of the most contaminated vegetables. Following their research, the group has identified seven vegetables that pose the greatest risk to the health of infants, babies, and young children.
Although opting for an all-organic diet may appear to be the only viable solution, it may not be feasible for most Indians. Therefore, we have compiled a list to raise awareness of the conventional vegetables that should either be avoided or bought organic because they contain the highest amount of pesticides.
Out of 708 non-organic spinach samples collected by the USDA, 96.6 percent had traces of at least one pesticide, while 13.6 percent had traces of at least ten. Notably, pesticide residues were found in 97 percent of spinach samples, with the neurotoxic insecticide permethrin being one of the most prevalent. Given that leafy green vegetables typically contain high amounts of fertilizers and pesticides, it’s recommended that they be either grown at home or purchased organically.
Kale made it to the eighth spot on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. Because of their delicate leaves, kale and spinach are often targeted by pests, making them good candidates for spraying. The EWG highlights pesticide residues as a concern due to reports linking exposure to pesticides with various health issues, such as fertility problems, impaired brain development, and cancer.
On average, tomatoes tested positive for four pesticides, with one sample containing 15 different types and their breakdown products.
A sample group of this low-calorie vegetable had 13 pesticides and over 95 percent of all samples tested positive for some level of pesticide.
Bell peppers and hot peppers had the highest concentration of pesticides, with 115 detected in total, 21 more than the crops with the second-highest concentration (kale, collard, and mustard greens).
Potatoes contained higher pesticide levels than any other crop, but slicing them can help reduce these levels. However, it’s worth noting that potato skins contain nutrients like fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
To minimize the harmful effects of high pesticide levels, it’s recommended to either buy these seven vegetables organically or avoid them altogether if organic options aren’t available.