The 2014 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

Apples, Strawberries, and Grapes Top This Year's List

The 2014 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

The 2014 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists

For the tenth year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put together their Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists to empower consumers so we have an idea of which fruits and vegetables contain the most pesticide residue. Pesticides are not only harmful to us, they are also harmful to the environment.

Of course, buying organic produce is an individual choice based on money, availablity, and beliefs. The lists are designed so you can have an idea of where to splurge and where you don't necessarily have to spend the extra money to buy organic—if eating organic is important to you.

*  The lists below are based on US produce, so they may not 100% reflect what is happening here in Canada, but since a lot of our produce is imported from the US, it’s a good idea to use the list as a guideline when purchasing imported fruits and vegetables.

The 2014 Dirty Dozen™

The EWG recommends when buying the following fruits and vegetables, that we buy organic if possible. The fruits and vegetables in the list below contained a number of different pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items:

1.  Apples
2.  Strawberries
3.  Grapes
4.  Celery
5.  Peaches
6.  Spinach
7.  Sweet Bell Peppers
8.  Imported Nectaries
9.  Cucumbers
10.  Cherry Tomatoes
11.  Imported Snap Peas
12.  Potatoes

The two following crops did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system:

  • Hot peppers
  • Leafy greens, specifically kale and collards

Get more info here on why these two crops are of special concern.

  Dirty Dozen™ notable findings:

  • Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
  • A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.

The 2014 Clean 15™

EWG's Clean Fifteen for 2014 are the produce items least likely to hold pesticide residue. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides.

1.  Avocados
2.  Sweet Corn
3.  Pineapples
4.  Cabbage
5.  Frozen Sweet Peas
6.  Onions
7.  Asparagus
8.  Mangoes
9.  Papayas
10.  Kiwis
11.  Eggplant
12.  Grapefruit
13.  Cantaloupe
14.  Cauliflower
15.  Sweet Potatoes

  Clean Fifteen™ Notable findings:

  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
  • Detecting multiple pesticide residues is extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

The full list of all the tested produce can be found here. See where your family favourites rank. Also see this FAQ about the list on the EWG website.

Then, check out this video to learn why it's beneficial to reduce the amount of pesticides in your diet.

Check out the book "Toxin Toxout" to learn the effects harmful chemicals have on us and how to get them out of your body and read up on the EWG's Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors.


Rethink What You Do With Your Old Car Tires

An Easy, Free Way to Upcycle Your Worn Tires

Rethink What You Do With Your Old Car Tires

Rethink What You Do With Your Old Car Tires

You buy new tires, you take care of them as well as you can, you switch them at the appropriate tire-changeover times, but like so many other things, they eventually wear out and it's time to get rid of them and buy new ones. But after you are done with your old tires, what do you do with them?

Throw them in a landfill? No.

Store them in your garage because you don't know what to do with them? No way.

Leave them on the side of the road? Please don't do that.

If you live in Ontario, you can drop off up to four old tires at a time (for free!) at one of the hundreds of the Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) registered collectors who will then ensure that your tires are sent off to be turned into something that can be used again. (If you are not in Ontario, see the list below for info on finding a collector program where you live)

Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) is an Industry Funding Organization (IFO) incorporated under Ontario's Waste Diversion Act, to implement and operate the Used Tires Program. The Used Tires Program is a provincial tire recycling program that diverts tires away from landfills, with help from Ontarians. Through this program, OTS fosters innovation, all the while, reducing environmental impact and creating green jobs in the province.

Take a look at this:

The OTS will take your tires and send them to recyclers who will use them to make many types of sustainable products. Here are a few examples:

  • Tire-derived aggregate
  • Crumb rubber which is used to make better sports fields, playgrounds, hockey rinks, and more durable quieter roads
  • Finished goods including floor mats, rubber mulch, landscape tiles, rubber paving and bricks, roof shingles, and sidewalks, in addition to rubber components for cars and trucks

Take a look at the video on this page to see the process old tires go through in order to be turned into something new.

Thanks to the OTS's hard work on getting tires out of scrap yards and upcycled into new consumer products, Ontario will soon be able to recycle 100% of its used tires. That is great news!

Not in Ontario to take advantage of the OTS's free services? Find a registered collector in your province or territory using the links below. Note that there is a small fee involved in some provinces to recycle your tires.


Bonus: New Car Tire Suggestions

After you have decided to recycle your tires, there is still the business of purchasing new tires. Here are some suggestions:

Looking for new all-season tires?

  • Consider the Ecopia's, an eco-friendly car tire.
  • Check out the brand new DriveGuard tires (also an eco tire) that gives drivers the ability to continue driving for up to 80 kilometeres (50 miles) if a puncture or loss of pressure should occur. Peace of mind while on the road is always a good thing.

Looking for new winter tires?

Want more tire and car info? Read this article on why you should avoid dry-steering in order to protect your tires and this one that shows you 10 Easy Ways to Make Your Car Eco-Friendly.


Why Take Part In Meatless Monday?

Why Eating Less Meat is Great For The Planet

Why Take Part In Meatless Monday?

Why Take Part in Meatless Monday?

It's always a great idea to recognize Earth Day by doing special activities to celebrate it, but what about when Earth Day is over? What happens then?

There's no need to make it just a one-day affair, because there are so many things you can incorporate into daily life to make Earth Day every day—simple, inexpensive things like using reusable bags, making your vehicle eco-friendly, or even making a commitment to using products that are safer for the environment. Another change you can make is by going meatless just once a week.

Even though you may think eating a plant-based meal just once a week may not be a big deal, according to the United Nations and the Environmental Protection Agency:

Imagine what can be accomplished if we were to all take part in Meatless Monday each week—or commit to going further and doing it more than one day a week. Since the Meatless Monday initiative was introduced back in 2003, 34 countries are now actively involved in participating and spreading the message. It's a simple thing that can have a huge impact not only on the environment, but also on our health (check out these must-see food documentaries that may change the way you look at food).

Nowadays, with Pinterest, and thousands of excellent plant-based food blogs to sift through, finding delicious, meatless recipes your entire family will love is really right at your finger tips. Participating in Meatless Mondays will be a piece of (vegan) cake!

What's your favourite meatless meal recipe?

For tons of delicious, meatless meal and dessert ideas, check out YMC's Meatless Mummy Con Carne, and for a delicious, plant-based dessert that will shock everyone when you tell them the secret ingredient, you must try this Dark-Chocolate Avocado Pudding.