The Green Gate
Click on any tab to get a reading on the environmental health of the Bay Area
Air Water Wildlife Urban Living Health
Pesticide Use
Decreases in Licensed Pesticide Use in San Francisco Offset by Big Increases in Several Counties
Findings at a glance A broader view What you can do

Take action on the Bay Area's behalf -- and your own. Here are some ways you can reduce your use of and exposure to toxic chemical pesticides.

  • Limit your use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals, such as paint thinners and varnish removers, and always dispose of them properly -- never down the sink or in the street; call (800) CLEANUP to learn about safe disposal.

  • Devote more of your resources to buying organic foods -- even just a little bit each time you shop. If you have limited resources, prioritize the organic foods that you buy. According to the Environmental Working Group, these are the most contaminated foods in the United States (in descending order): strawberries, green and red bell peppers (tied for second place), spinach, U.S. cherries, peaches, Mexican cantaloupe, celery, apples, apricots, green beans, Chilean grapes, and cucumbers.

  • Eat less meat and dairy and buy organic. Some pesticides accumulate in animal fat, so limiting your meat and dairy intake can reduce your exposure to these chemicals, as can buying organic meat, milk, butter, and eggs. Tell your grocer that you would like more organic options.

  • Contact your city council or county board of supervisors and request an ordinance to limit pesticide use in your city or county.

  • Learn more. Visit the Pesticide Action Network and the Bio-Integral Resource Center websites for information on pesticides and pesticide alternatives. The Environmental Working Group's Food News website offers a sobering picture of the pesticides in conventional foods, and provides lots of information on healthier choices.

  • You'll find out lots more ways to reduce your use of and exposure to pesticides in our guide to eliminating pesticides and chemicals and our guide to local farmer's markets. (For still more Bay Area green-living tips, see all our Green Gate Green Guides.) And to keep informed and take action on the latest issues affecting the Bay Area and the rest of California, join NRDC's California Activist Network.


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