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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Strawberries top Dirty Dozen list of produce packed with pesticides

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Thursday, April 11, 2024   

Nonorganic fruits and vegetables are loaded with chemical pesticides, including fungicides which can harm male reproductive systems, according to the 2024 Dirty Dozen Shopper's Guide.

Alexa Friedman, senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, explained food is the primary way most people in Colorado and across the nation are exposed to pesticides, which have been linked to a number of negative health outcomes.

"Things like cardio metabolic disorders, different types of diabetes, as well as some cancers," Friedman outlined. "If you are exposed to multiple pesticides over the course of a lifetime they might lead to a greater risk in any of these health outcomes."

Conventionally-grown strawberries top this year's Dirty Dozen list, followed by spinach, kale and collard and mustard greens, grapes, peaches, pears, nectarines, apples, bell and hot peppers, cherries, blueberries and green beans.

Fungicides, which can be endocrine disrupters and harm human hormone systems, are often applied after harvest to keep produce mold-free on its way to market. Most of the U.S. Department of Agriculture produce tested did fall within the legal allowance for pesticide residue, but Friedman said "legal" does not necessarily mean "safe."

"Even if the amount of pesticides are within legal limits on these produce, it doesn't mean it's safe for everyone, particularly susceptible populations like children," Friedman noted.

The shopper's guide also includes the Clean Fifteen, a list of fruits and vegetables with very low or no pesticide residues. Organic avocados, sweet corn and pineapple top the list.

Friedman encouraged people to continue to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, organic or conventional, due to their nutritional value compared with highly processed foods.

"We always recommend continuing to consume fruits and vegetables, and to up your fruit and vegetable intake," Friedman advised. "If you are interested in purchasing organic versions of the produce that's on the Dirty Dozen, there are also some more budget friendly options in the frozen aisles."


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