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EWG Updates The Pesticide Shopper’s Guide

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Organic Fruit and Veggies Still Recommended

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2009 – Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) popular Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides has a new look -- and an updated list of fruits and vegetables for consumers who aim to reduce their families’ exposure to pesticides.

Thousands of people take the handy wallet-size Shopper’s Guide, now in its 5th edition, to the supermarket. EWG always recommends buying organic, but when your budget is tight or it’s not available, consumers can use the Shopper’s Guide lists of “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” fruits and vegetables to determine which conventionally-grown produce items have the lightest pesticide load and which have the highest.

The Shopper’s Guide can be downloaded free at www.foodnews.org. It will soon be available as an iPhone application.

The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of some pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.

The Shopper’s Guide has been developed by EWG based on data from nearly 87,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between 2000 and 2007 and collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. First produced in1995, the 5th edition has been updated to reflect the latest information about pesticides on produce.

“Consumers can’t shop their way out of being exposed to toxic chemicals, but the Shopper’s Guide can help people make smart decisions that dramatically reduce their pesticide intake,” said EWG Executive Director Richard Wiles. “The Shopper’s Guide is a must-have for expectant mothers and parents of young children. While the government ponders pesticide risks, parents need to know which fruits or vegetables might expose their child to a handful of toxic pesticides and which will not.”

EWG's computer analysis has found that consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80 percent by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only the cleanest.

If consumers get their USDA-recommended 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables from the 15 most contaminated, they could consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest less than 2 pesticides daily.

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.

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