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Needless Hysteria Over Food Fears

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Friday, August 11, 2023


The Environmental Working Group’s Toxic Ten has been getting some media attention lately, inciting unsubstantiated and irrational fears for Americans and Canadians. Some TV reporters, ignorant of basic science, have been spreading the misinformation, to everyone's health detriment. One has to wonder where the EWG researchers get their degrees. A basic understanding of science and how the human body absorbs food completely exposes these fears and phobias as absurd and almost comical. Below is a basic rundown of the simple facts, with links for delving deeper if desired.  

Top 10 (allegedly) Most Toxic Foods 







egg yolks 




"All the chemicals above (some which you can’t pronounce) are found in your food—because they are all vitamins. The toxicity levels noted are real, determined from experiments conducted in animals as well as in Petri dish cell cultures.  

"We refer to them as A, C, D, B6 or similar nomenclatures, but those less scientific nicknames represent an elaborate chemical compound that has discrete thresholds for action and toxicity. Even vitamins, essential for life, have specific levels that should not be exceeded. 

"And in fact, they can be harmful—at levels far, far beyond what any human could possibly consume. But the only time these become toxic in practice is from supplement overdoses or accidental ingestion. In reality, it would be almost impossible to exceed risk thresholds from consuming fruits and vegetables.  

"The same holds true for the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of ‘toxic fruits and vegetables’; not one is harmful at the levels we encounter the chemicals on them (not even close in every case). Every chemical listed could be harmful if, as with our Toxic Ten, they are consumed at 100 to 1,000 times the levels we encounter them in our daily diets. 

"The point of the Toxic Ten is to illustrate how easy it is to conjure a sense of risk and fear around chemicals in or on our feed that are essentially riskless. If it’s your intention, it’s easy to almost scare people to death by what are comparatively harmless or even beneficial chemicals.  

"This is a critical teaching exercise on the heels of EWG’s Dirty Dozen. They exploit the same kind of word gymnastics and data distortion to imply risk around miniscule levels of chemicals used to protect crops from insects, fungi and weed pressure that don’t come close to harming humans. We have very powerful methods to detect the presence of a specific chemical at the edge of nothing, but 'detected' does not mean equate with dangerous. Not even close.  

"Don’t make your diet decisions based on fear. Someone is trying to fool you—not to protect you but for their own ideological or financial gain.  

"Consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a decreased risk in long term developmental disease, as well as a better quality of life. We live in a time with the safest, most abundant supply of fruits and vegetables in human history. Enjoy them frequently and be grateful for the diversity we can access around the calendar."   


Viewpoint: This guide should replace the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of ‘chemical-soaked’ produce   https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2023/06/02/scared-to-death-these-toxic-ten-chemicals-have-been-widely-detected-in-many-commonly-consumed-fruits-and-vegetables-and-they-are-all-safe/  

Excellent video overview from Kite and Key Media: "What Doesn't Kill You......." 

"As health risks go, you’re probably not that worried about black licorice. And if you eat it in normal amounts, you don’t need to be. But in 2020, a Massachusetts man suffered a fatal heart attack after eating at least a bag of the candy every day for a few weeks — because it contains an ingredient that, at those enormous quantities, causes potassium levels to nosedive. 

"There’s also nothing wrong with a little nutmeg. But a lot of nutmeg — two to three tablespoons — can send your heart racing and cause hallucinations — which could make Christmas a little weird. 

"And believe it or not, even water can be toxic at excessive levels. Drink more than your kidneys can excrete, and you’ll be facing a condition called hyponatremia — which, in the most extreme cases, has even led to comas or death. 

"But while the principle of 'the dose makes the poison' might make us more cautious about things we otherwise regard as harmless … it also ought to calm our nerves about some of the things that freak everyone out. 

"Take pesticides, for example. In 2018, 79 percent of Americans told pollsters they believed there was at least some health risk from pesticide exposure through fruits and vegetables. That’s one reason that so many people buy organic food, despite the fact that it can cost over 50 percent more. Which would probably make them disappointed to learn that, contrary to popular belief, organics use pesticides too. 

"But here’s the good news: It doesn’t matter. Because pesticides can be dangerous at high levels, but … those are not the levels in your grocery store. Not even close. 

"The EPA sets limits on how much pesticide residue can be on produce — and sets them well below the level at which they pose any danger. And in 2021, over 99 percent of the country’s produce came in under even those limits — and in fact, nearly a quarter of them had no pesticide residues at all." 


"What Doesn't Kill You......."                               https://www.kiteandkeymedia.com/videos/is-our-food-supply-toxic-myths-about-toxins-and-risks/  

Further Reading 

"What Does — and Doesn’t — Give You Cancer" (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)                                                                                         https://cancerfactfinder.org/  

"Why the Gospel of Wellness Sells" (McGill Office for Science and Society)      https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/critical-thinking-health-and-nutrition/why-gospel-wellness-sells  

"What a Nutritionist Wants You to Know About Pesticide and Produce" (NBC News)                                                         https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/produce-side-pesticides-what-nutritionist-wants-you-know-about-ewg-ncna864156  

"Are We Too Anxious About Radiation?" (BBC)  https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54211450  

"Why You Really Shouldn’t Worry About Aspartame and Cancer" (Ars Technica) https://arstechnica.com/health/2023/07/dont-ditch-your-diet-drinks-the-link-between-aspartame-and-cancer-is-flimsy/  

Related Posts 

Deadly Nature: Quack Medicine Exposed for Peddling "Natural" As Medicinal https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2023/06/deadly-nature-quack-medicine-exposed.html   

The Dose Makes the Poison:  19 Examples Alarmists Want Hushed http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2017/03/the-dose-makes-poison-19-examples.html    

17 Concise Health and Wellness Fallacies Every Consumer Should Know https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2022/10/17-concise-health-and-wellness.html  

Food Babe Exposed for Lies About the Herbicide Glyphosate https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2023/05/food-babe-exposed-for-her-lies-about.html   

6 Epic Food Babe Fails                               http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2017/11/6-epic-food-babe-fails.html   

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17 Quick Truths That Lay Bare & Expose the Claims of Alternative Medicine & Its Fake Science                                            https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2022/12/17-quick-truths-that-lay-bare-expose.html    

15 Devious Tactics & Lies of Complimentary & Alternative Medicine  https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2021/09/15-devious-tactics-lies-of.html 

9 Basic Ways Shameless Health Gurus Dupe Their Followers   http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2018/02/9-basic-ways-shameless-health-gurus.html   

                                                                                                                                       Devious Ways Alternative Medicine “Doctors” Deceive Their Patients    http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2015/01/9-reasons-why-some-alternative-medicine.html  

Prove It! 7 Simple & Basic Rules for Evaluating EVIDENCE! https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2022/04/prove-it-7-simple-basic-rules-for.html   

Think On Your Feet: How to Avoid Being Duped & Fall for Lie After Lie https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2022/03/think-on-your-feet-how-to-avoid-being.html   

Fallacy 101: Cherry-Picking Info to Support Pre-Held Beliefs https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2022/06/fallacy-101-cherry-picking-info-to.html   


Photo: https://www.textstudio.com/word-logos/fear-6725      

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


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