Washington, D.C.—The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released their 2019 Dirty Dozen. New on the list? Kale, and it ranks third, just after strawberries and spinach.
A press release from the EWG said that USDA’s most recent round of tests found that more than 92% of conventionally grown kale samples had at least two or more pesticide residues. Some samples contained residues from as many as 18 different pesticides. Nearly 60% of the kale samples tested positive for Dacthal (DCPA), which has long been classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA. It’s been prohibited for use on crops in the European Union since 2009.
It’s also worth noting that, according to the press release, the last time Kale ranked in the Dirty Dozen was in 2009—because that’s the last year for which there was testing data. Kale hasn’t been included in USDA’s regular produce tests.
EWG toxicologist Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., said in the release, “We were surprised kale had so many pesticides on it, but the test results were unequivocal. 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.”
Prior to USDA testing, all produce was thoroughly washed and peeled—which, clearly, failed to remove all pesticides.
More information, including other key findings, can be found here.