Pesticide Guide: The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen
Are you interested in lowering pesticide exposure in your diet but you aren’t sure where to start? The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health has produced a guide that can help you get started. Based on the analysis of 87,000 tests for pesticides on the 47 most popular fruits and vegetables, the EWG has found that people can lower their pesticide exposure by almost 80 percent by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead.
The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides contains the latest and most up to date information about which fruits and vegetables have the highest residues on them and therefore should only be consumed certified organic. It also gives you insight into which fruits and vegetables are on the lower end of the spectrum, making them safer to buy conventionally grown. There is a common misconception that rinsing and/or peeling fruits and vegetables will remove pesticide residues. In nearly all the studies used to make this list, the produce was tested after it had been rinsed or peeled.
Every year, new research is published confirming the toxicity of pesticides to human health and the environment. Certified organic fruits and vegetables are by definition grown without the use of pesticides but some find that the expense of buying all their produce organic is prohibitive. Eating organic doesn’t need to be an all or nothing approach. The “Dirty Dozen” has the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grown organic. The “Clean 15” has the lowest pesticide load making them the safest conventionally grown crops to consume.
The following list is a summary of the Environmental Working Group’s pesticide wallet guide that you can carry with you to the grocery store until you become more familiar with which produce is safer to buy organic:
Dirty Dozen – Buy These Organic
- Bell Pepper
- Grapes (Imported)
Clean 15 – Lowest in Pesticides
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potato