In a previous article, we introduced the Environmental Working Groupâ€™s (EWG) Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 (stay tuned for updates on this list). These lists rank produce items based on pesticide levels so that you can determine which you should always buy organic and which are okay to buy conventional if you are picking and choosing (like me!). But what about other products? Produce isnâ€™t the only thing that leaves me wondering what chemicals Iâ€™m putting into my body.
A friend of mine forwarded an article from Yahoo!â€™s Shine (very cool lifestyle content section of Yahoo! with women as its target audience) which lists the 11 things you should always buy organic. So what does Yahoo! Shine recommend?
1. Beef â€“ Always buy certified organic by the USDA to avoid added hormones (linked to increased risk of breast cancer) and added antibiotics. I must admit I donâ€™t usually do this because itâ€™s so much more expensive, but I think Iâ€™ll have to give in on this one. Plus we donâ€™t eat beef that often so it shouldnâ€™t really break the budget.
2. Strawberries â€“ Because this fruit has so many nooks and crannies, there is a lot of pesticide residue, even after washing. Itâ€™s also smart to buy organic apples, blueberries, peaches and cherries which are conventionally treated with multiple pesticides and are usually eaten with the skin on.
3. Cookware â€“ We should be using stainless steal, cast iron or ceramic cookware. Cookware that is coated with non-stick surfaces usually contains a chemical called PTFE that when overheated, breaks down emitting toxic fumes.
4. Popcorn â€“ This was an eye opener for meâ€¦.avoid microwave popcorn. Apparently the lining contains a chemical that keeps the popcorn from sticking to the bag. There is evidence that this chemical is linked to cancer among other things. We have movie night every weekend at home with microwave popcorn. I guess Iâ€™ll need to get an air popper or make it the old fashioned way on the stove!
5. Yard Pesticides â€“ Some lawn and garden pesticides contain suspected carcinogens. We use a pesticide and lawn care company that both use organic products that are safe around kids and pets. Check out the brands EcoClear and BurnOut if you are doing your own and do your research before selecting a company to use.
6. All-Purpose Home Cleaners â€“ Ammonia and bleach are irritating and some cleaners contain something called phthalates which is an endocrine (hormone system) disruptor. My favorite brand, if Iâ€™m not formulating my own cleaners, is Mrs. Meyers. I love the companyâ€™s philosophy and they have great scents!
7. Water Bottles â€“ BPA is an endocrine (hormone system) disruptor, causing tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders. Use unlined stainless steel, or BPA-free plastic bottles. See our previous article on plastics.
8. Food Storage Containers â€“ See above note on BPA, which is also found in a lot of plastic storage containers. Opt for glass containers with BPA-free plastic lids.
9. Milk â€“ Check out this statistic: â€œDairy products account for a reported 60 to 70 percent of the estrogens we consume through our food.â€ Limit the amount of hormones in your milk by only buying milk that is free of artificial hormones.
10. Celery â€“ This was at the top of the Dirty Dozen list as well. Celery is very porous so it retains a lot more pesticides than other produce. Bell peppers, potatoes and spinach are also produce items that should be purchased organic.
11. Tomato Sauce â€“ Buy tomato sauce in glass jars or boxes (I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever seen it in boxes). The lining on the inside of canned foods may contain BPA.
I noticed today when grocery shopping that brands are starting to use the description â€œsimpleâ€ or â€œbasicâ€ or â€œnaturalâ€ to describe their more natural line of products. Whatâ€™s sad is that they have to use those descriptions in the first place. Shouldnâ€™t everything be simple and natural? With all the chemicals out there, nothing is simple about food shopping anymore. Hopefully by reading about what we have researched, shopping can be a little easier.
For more details on the content of this post, visit the Yahoo! Shine article.