The 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, recently released by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG), features new rankings in its annual Dirty Dozen list of conventionally grown produce that contains the most pesticide residues. 

Strawberries remain at the top of the list, and spinach has been moved to second place. This year’s list also includes nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes. Pears and potatoes are new, displacing cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from last year’s list.

The Shopper’s Guide is based on EWG’s analysis of tests made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which found nearly 70 percent of samples of 48 types of conventional produce to be contaminated with residues of one or more pesticides. The most contaminated sample of strawberries contained 20 different pesticides.

Tested fruits and vegetables were found to contain pesticide residues even after they were washed, and, in some cases, peeled.

Dr. Philip Landrigan of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine says, “Even low levels of pesticide exposure can be harmful 

to infants, babies and young children, so when possible, 

parents and caregivers should take steps to lower children’s exposures to pesticides while still feeding them diets rich in healthy fruits and vegetables.… EWG’s guide can help by giving consumers easy-to-use advice when shopping for their families.” Landrigan was principal author of “Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children,” a 1993 National Academy of Sciences study that led to enactment of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act that set safety standards for pesticides on foods.

The EWG guide also contains a Clean Fifteen list of produce least likely to contain pesticide residues — sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit. 

For more information, visit www.ewg.org.