PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Could eating healthy be bad for you? There’s a new report on produce and pesticides called the “Dirty Dozen” which was released by the Environmental Working Group.

It analyzed government data on 53 fruits and vegetables to find which ones were the most contaminated with pesticides.

Apples take the number one spot on the “Dirty Dozen” list. According to the new report, 92 percent are contaminated with pesticides.

“That shocks me because I have a young child,” said Sophie Sanders of Philadelphia.

Next on the “Dirty Dozen” list are celery, strawberries, peaches and spinach. They contain the highest amounts of pesticides.

“Spinach is my favorite. That’s very disappointing,” said Robert Bruhin of Mt. Airy.

The Environmental Working Group says the pesticides were found in the produce. Most samples were washed and peeled before testing.
Pesticides have been linked to cancer, a variety of disorders, and even brain damage in children.

“We try to avoid as much pesticides as possible,” said Arlene Grudkowski, who likes fruits and vegetables. She worries about her 8-year-old daughter, Amelia, being over exposed to pesticides.

“And what we try to do is buy organic as much as possible,” said Arlene.

But organic produce can be difficult to find, and it’s often more expensive. So the Environmental Working Group also ranks the cleanest conventional produce.

“This guide may be a good place to start. You can certainly mix conventional produce with organic produce,” said Ann Dunaway, a registered dietitian.

Topping the “Clean 15″ list are onions, corn, pineapple, and avocado. Asparagus had no detectable pesticide residue on 90 percent of the samples.

“Asparagus is very healthy, and I love asparagus,” said Sophie.

The USDA says the overall pesticide residue levels they found are below the maximum allowed by the EPA. The Produce Trade Association calls the Dirty Dozen” list irresponsible, misleading, and sensational.

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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