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25 Foods That Can Contain Harmful Chemicals

White Potatoes

Potatoes are a great food, guaranteed to make any food better. Sadly, the USDA has found 35 different pesticides of the standard white potato. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, these chemicals do happen to be dangerous. 6 are known carcinogens, 12 are hormone disrupting, 7 are neurotoxins, and 6 affect reproduction. The chemicals used on white potatoes are not to be taken lightly.

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Corn

Corn is used in so many foods. Tortillas, beer, and pretty much anything sweet. It’s a super diverse food, but it’s had some serious gene modification. Our bodies aren’t used to this level of GMO, and its believed that many people have food allergies because of this. In addition, GMO processes are constantly being changed and updated, but there have been no long-term studies on this matter. Handle GMO foods with caution.

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Apples

The EWG has said that 90% of apples are found with a number of harmful pesticides. In case you think this might be a benefit to us, you should know that some of the pesticides found on apples have been banned in Europe because it’s harmful effects on humans.

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Bell Peppers

According to the Environmental Worker Group (EWG), 90% of bell peppers studied had pesticides. Although pesticides were found on most peppers, there weren’t a ton of pesticides found. The problem is that the pesticides the peppers had were toxic for human health.

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Spinach

Spinach has super high levels of pesticides — over 97%! So, there’s a high risk of ingesting carcinogens, hormone disruption, and neurotoxins when you reach for this leafy green. In fact, Time magazine said it “contained nearly twice the pesticide residue by weight than any other fruit or vegetable.”

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Cherry Tomatoes

The number of pesticides on your tomatoes varies greatly from farm to farm, but most samples still had several different harmful residues found on them. Be sure to wash this food wisely.

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Grapes

Pesticides linger in and on fruits and veggies with thin skin, so grapes are definitely at risk. 96% of grapes averaged 5 pesticides, with the USDA finding 56 different types total. That’s a lot of chemicals for such a small fruit.

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Celery

Celery is nature's, toothbrush, but apparently, it’s not super clean itself. 95% of celery contained pesticides. Up to 13 different pesticide residues, most being hormone disruptors, have been found on these veggies. So now, this veggie is near nutrition-less and dangerous. That’s a lose-lose situation.

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Hot Peppers

Hot Peppers made the EWG Dirty Dozen Plus list because nearly ¾ of this tasteful veggie contained “traces of highly toxic pesticides.” You’ll be sweating for a number of reasons!

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Peaches

Peaches were found with an average of 4 pesticides on 99% of the samples tested, so unless you’re growing this fun fruit at home, you should probably make sure to give this fruit a good washing first.

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Cucumber

Cucumbers are this odd vegetable, basically just crunchy water. To make things worse for this sorry vegetable, the USDA found that they contain more than 35 different types of pesticide residues, most of which are hormone disruptive or neurotoxins. These guys barely missed the Dirty Dozen list.

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Nectarines

Nectarines made the EWG’s dirty dozen because 94% of nectarines have trace residues of pesticides that are harmful to humans. The USDA has found 33 types, including 17 hormone disruptors.

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Strawberries

Strawberries are definitely one of the best foods in human history. Sadly, they also have more pesticides than any other fruit or vegetable after spinach. The EWG reported an average of about 10 harmful pesticides on this fruit, with Time magazine reporting as many as 20. The USDA has found 45 different types of pesticides. It’s a sad time for this beautiful fruit.

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Kale

Kale is all the rage right now. It’s super low in calories, high in fiber, and all around a very nutritious plant. Sadly, it’s also contaminated with insecticides that are highly toxic to the nervous system.
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Fish

Fish in our oceans have been contaminated. Agricultural chemicals get in the water, drift around, and then are consumed by fish. These chemicals include modern chemicals and older, now-illegal chemicals like DDT. You’ll be stepping into dangerous waters next time you venture down your fish aisle.

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Squash

Squash is a super tasty food, but the USDA found 64 different types of pesticide residues on this colorful food. These pesticides are mainly hormone disrupting with a few carcinogens and neurotoxins thrown into the mix. They even have honeybee toxins, and we all know that bees need a lot of help right now!

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Beets

Dwight Schrute may love these plants, but you shouldn’t. They’re thin-skinned, which makes them more likely to absorb the chemical mix it’s dosed in.

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Cherries

You have to look hard to find cherries that haven’t been soaked in sugar water, but even if you manage to some, you’ll still be hard pressed to find some that are good for you. Cherries have an average of 5 pesticides on them, but that’s not the worst part. About a third of cherries have been treated with the known carcinogen iprodione, a chemical that has been outlawed in Europe.

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Pears

After washing these shapely fruits, the USDA found an average of 5 pesticides on 48% of pears. In 2010, less than 10 years ago, this number of pesticides was only found on 3% of pears. That’s quite the increase.

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Wheat Grains

Wheat is a staple in our diet, and it’s been a staple in people’s diet for thousands of years. Things are changing now. In recent years, farmers have begun spraying their wheat crops with the weed-killer Roundup in order to produce a higher crop yield.

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Salmon

If you want to swim against the flow, avoid this fish. You know how its normally pink? Salmon pink? Well, apparently that’s not normal. Salmon meat is beige colored, and chemicals are added to give it its iconic colors.

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Cereal

After receiving significant backlash because of a major food blogger, General Mills decided to remove the chemical BHT from all its products. This chemical is considered to be a toxicant and is still prevalent in cereals produced by companies other than General Mills.

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Poultry

Baths are great. Unless you’re a chicken. Part of the process for getting chicken onto the shelves at your local Walmart is something called a “chlorine bath.” It’s not pretty, and definitely not something people should be eating.

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Radishes

Radishes are actually fairly safe because they actually function as a natural pesticide. They’re actually only on this list because they’re the opposite of everything else on this list.

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