Mothers and Others
mission and historyshoppers' campaignresearch centerthe green guidemembershipstop, start, and write


from the current issue

back issues

advertising terms

Our Top Ten List of Fruits and Vegetables to Buy Organic or IPM

(reprinted from The Green Guide #80, June 2000)

We ranked the following 10 out of 42 fruits and vegetables sampled according to the amount of toxicity of pesticide residues found.

1. PEACHES Summer's blushing fruit contains high residues of iprodione, classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and methyl parathion, an endocrine disruptor and organophosphate (OP) insecticide. OPs are potent neurotoxins that attack the nervous system and brain Methyl parathion has caused massive kills of bees and birds. According to Consumer Reports, single servings of peaches "consistently exceeded" EPA's safe daily limit for a 44-pound child.

2. APPLES may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. CORE Values IPM apple growers are trying to phase out OPs.

3. PEARS, both fresh and in baby food, can also come with methyl parathion, as well as the OP azinphos-methyl,
which is toxic to freshwater fish, amphibians and bees.

4. WINTER SQUASHDieldrin, a chlorinated, carcinogenic insecticide, exceeded the safe daily limit for a young child in two-thirds of positive samples. Another potent carcinogen, heptachlor also showed up. DDT and its breakdown product, DDE, were detected in baby food squash.

5. GREEN BEANS can contain acephate, methamidophos and dimethoate (three neurotoxic OPs), and endosulphan and endocrine-disrupting insecticide, which showed up in baby food, too. Acephate disorients migrating birds, throwing them off course.

6. GRAPES U.S. grapes contain methyl parathion and methomyl, a carbamate insecticide listed as an endocrine disruptor; imports may contain dimethoate.

7. STRAWBERRIES The enhanced red color of strawberries comes from the fungicide captan, a probable human carcinogen that can irritate skin and eyes, and is highly toxic to fish. While the lethal soil fumigant methyl bromide doesn't show up on the fruit it has harmed.

8. RASPERRIES Watch out for more than horns! These berries can contain captan, iprodione and carbaryl, a suspected endocrine disruptor that has also been found in plum baby food.

9. SPINACH Permethrin, a possible human carcinogen, and dimethoate dominate spinach's toxicity ratings, but CU notes that residue levels have been declining as U.S. farmers reduce use of these insecticides. DDT has been found in spinach, which leads all foods in exceeding safety tolerances.

10. POTATOES Pesticide use on potatoes is growing, CU warns. They may contain dieldrin and methamidophos and children eating potatoes risk getting a very high dose of aldicarb, CU says.

THE GREEN GUIDE(TM) is a publication of Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet, Inc. Copyright 2000 by Mothers & Others. All rights reserved.