FYI: Eat Organic Green Beans

Why You Should Never Eat Nonorganic Green Beans
Photograph By Thinkstock

FOODS_GRN-BEANS

Sometimes organic just isn’t available. So is it safe to go the nonorganic route if there’s no other feasible option? While organic is always best if you’re trying to protect your family from chemicals linked to breast cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ADHD, thyroid problems, and other ills, Consumer Reports recently released a super-handy report that helps you figure out which veggies are riskier choices than others whenever you’re in a position where organic isn’t an option.

For instance, researchers found nonorganic green beans to be among the riskiest produce picks you could eat.

In the report, veteran researcher Charles Benbrook, PhD, a collaborator on the Consumer Reports report and leader of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, had this to say: “Acephate, and its breakdown product methamidophos, on green beans was the No. 1 risk driver in 2013. That use accounted for around one-half of total risk across all pesticides and food.”

Because of this, green beans fall into the report’s “very high risk” category. And the thing about green beans is that they are consistently contaminated with toxic pesticides. Looking at the measure of both the amount of pesticide residues found on the beans and the chemicals’ toxicity, green beans have landed on the very-high-risk category nearly every year since testing began in 1992.

The Consumer Reports’ From Crop to Table Pesticide Use in Produce explains that the organophosphate chemical acephate is among the most concerning chemicals showing up on green beans, despite the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency canceled its use in 2009. (Organophosphate bug-killing chemicals are associated with brain damage in people. That makes sense, since they are designed to scramble a pest’s nervous system.)

The Environmental Working Group recently also came out with its list of pesticide-laden produce, calling it the 2015 Dirty Dozen list.

To add to this body of research, Consumer Reports‘ report on green beans andother high-risk produce (in terms of pesticides)—including peaches, tangerines, plums (from Chile, but not America), apples (from America, but not New Zealand), green beans, bell peppers, hot peppers, and sweet potatoes—makes it easier for you to make smarter choices while shopping for produce. (Be empowered by this knowledge; don’t shy away from eating produce, since eating more veggies has consistently been shown to help you live longer.)

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