Kale snags a spot on annual Environmental Working Group's 'Dirty Dozen' list

Apologies, kale lovers!

Fans of the highly-nutritious plant will be disappointed to learn that it's snagged a spot on the annual "Dirty Dozen" list. The list, which is compiled every spring by the Environmental Working Group, ranks the most pesticide-ridden fruits and vegetables. 

"We were surprised kale had so many pesticides on it, but the test results were unequivocal," said toxicologist Alexis Temkin from EWG. Not only did kale make the list for the first time in a decade, it ranked third on this year's list. In 2009, the plant ranked as number eight. 

See the Environmental Working Group's 2019 rankings:

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What made 2019's "Dirty Dozen" list
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What made 2019's "Dirty Dozen" list
12. Potatoes 
11. Celery
10. Tomatoes 
9. Pears 
8. Cherries 
7. Peaches 
6. Grapes
5. Apples 
4. Nectarines 
3. Kale
2. Spinach
1. Strawberries 
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For the first time, the "Dirty Dozen" list also expanded to include hot peppers, which the EWG found "to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system." 

According to the EWG findings, 92 percent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues, with some samples being traced to 18 different pesticides. Dacthal, which the Environmental Protection Agency classifies as a possible human carcinogen, could be traced on 60 percent of samples. It's also prohibited on crops by the European Union.

The produce tested by the EWG was still washed and peeled, as a consumer would prepare them, despite these unnerving results.

“Fruits and vegetables are an important part of everyone’s diet, and when it comes to some conventionally grown produce items, such as kale, choosing organic may be a better option,” concluded Temkin.

“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,” advises the agency.  To see the EWG's entire "Dirty Dozen" list, scroll through above. 

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