Kale Now One of the Top 3 Vegetables Most Contaminated With Toxic Cancer-Linked Pesticides

kale is contaminated by cancer causing chemicals

PHOTO: pixabay



Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a report on the most pesticide-contaminated vegetables and fruits on the market. The list is called The Dirty Dozen, and consists of produce that is important to buy organic, or use a special wash to remove the pesticides.

The list changes slightly every year, and in 2019, there is bad news for kale lovers. As healthy as kale usually is, non-organic kale became number 3 on the Dirty Dozen list (the second vegetable after spinach), because over 50 percent of it tested positive for cancer-causing pesticides.

The Problem With Kale

The EWG’s analysis found residues of DCPA or Dacthal on kale, which the EPA labeled as a possible carcinogen back in 1995. In 2005, many manufacturers stopped using it on crops of artichokes, beans, and cucumbers, due to worries of drinking water contamination.

The European Union banned using Dacthal on all crops in 2009.

However, in the U.S., this cancer-causing pesticide is still used on not only kale, but also broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggplant, and turnips, according to the EGW kale report.

In 2016, roughly 500,000 pounds of Dacthal was used on crops mainly in California and Washington state. However, only in California does all pesticide use have to be reported, so the number is likely much higher.

This pesticide is concerning not only because of its residues on kale and other produce, but it can contaminate drinking water, and travel through air to communities near the farms.

Besides it being a possible carcinogen, it is a suspected endocrine disruptor, as well as harmful for thyroid function.

Additionally, Dacthal tested positive for contamination of two other cancer-causing chemicals: TCDD and hexachlorobenzene.

USDA data from 2017 showed that over 90 percent of kale is contaminated with at least two pesticide residues.

These include insecticides bifenthrin and cypermethrin, and pesticide permethrin. The last one can be detected in human urine, and is linked to adverse neurological events and ADHD in children.

While kale remains a health food, it is necessary to buy it from organic sources. The rest of the produce from the Dirty Dozen should be bought organically as well.


The Dirty Dozen 2019

The full list of the latest Dirty Dozen (the first 12 items are most commonly discussed) is as follows:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes
  13. Sweet bell peppers
  14. Cherry tomatoes
  15. Lettuce
  16. Cucumbers
  17. Blueberries
  18. Hot peppers
  19. Plums
  20. Green beans
  21. Tangerines
  22. Raspberries
  23. Grapefruit
  24. Winter squashes
  25. Snap peas
  26. Carrots
  27. Oranges
  28. Summer squash
  29. Mangoes
  30. Bananas
  31. Sweet potatoes
  32. Watermelon
  33. Honeydew Melons
  34. Mushrooms
  35. Broccoli
  36. Cantaloupes
  37. Cauliflower
  38. Cabbage
  39. Kiwis
  40. Asparagus
  41. Eggplant
  42. Papayas
  43. Onions
  44. Sweet peas (frozen)
  45. Pineapple
  46. Sweet corn
  47. Avocados



Washing The Produce To Remove Pesticides

If you cannot find these organically but choose to use them, do use a produce wash that will remove some pesticide residues from your fruits and vegetables.

Certified Organic Veggie Wash, for example, is manufactured from sunflower oil, apple cider vinegar, orange and lemon oils, and coconut oil (plus potassium hydroxide used to turn oil into soap, and citric acid) to cut through the wax and remove chemicals from pesticides.

To use it on firm produces like potatoes and apples, all you have to do is spray the veggie wash. To wash soft produce and leafy greens, you mix 2 oz.  of the veggie wash with a large bowl of water and soak the produce for 30 seconds. Rinse everything after using the veggies wash for all produce.

Avoiding toxic pesticides is just one way to slash your cancer risk. For more info, you can check out ‘The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest.’ Click here to learn more. 

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Categories: Pesticides.
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