Kale has always been considered a super food as well as the most popular of all the greens. This year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization who has focused on human health and the environment, has come out with one of the most surprising of all their reports since 2004. Until now, kale had not been tested for ten years. This year, however, the EWG found that 92% of kale samples tested had two or more pesticide residues detected, and a single sample could have up to 18 different residues.
Of all of these, the most frequently detected pesticides from about 60% of the kale samples was Dacthal, also called DCPA. It has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a possible human carcinogen, based on animal studies. This finding ranked kale in third place on this year’s “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with strawberries and spinach taking first and second place, as they did last year.
According to Nneka Leiba, MPH, director of healthy living science at EWG and co-author of the report, “The percent of kale samples with residue increased from 76 to be considered a health hazard to 98%, pointing out the difference between 2007 and 2017, …an increase on a single sample from two to more than five.” Leiba empathizes that this report should not discourage anyone from eating kale as well as other fruits and vegetables, especially if you choose organic and wash them.
Other experts who have read the report say that the amount of pesticides cited is not enough to be considered a health hazard. Hot peppers, which doesn’t meet the EWG’s ranking criteria, were found to be contaminated with insecticides like acephate, chlorpyrifos and oxamyl, which are all toxic to the human nervous system. The EWG recommends buying them organic and cooking them, as heat decreases pesticide levels.
The complete 2019 “Dirty Dozen” list includes:
While some people resist buying organic, because of the higher cost, it’s well worth paying more for better health!
Kale Is a Surprise on 2019’s ‘Dirty Dozens’ List – Medscape – March 20, 2019