The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen
Nearly all of the data used took into account how people typically wash and prepare produce – for example, apples were washed and bananas peeled before testing.
The following “Dirty Dozen Plus” had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions – or to grow them organically yourself.
The Dirty Dozen “Plus”
Purchase these ORGANIC:
Sweet bell peppers
Snap peas (imported)
Plus these may contain organophosphate insecticides, which EWG characterizes as “highly toxic” and of special concern:
Coffee & Teas
The Clean Fifteen
Of the fruit and vegetable categories tested, the following “Clean 15” foods had the lowest pesticide load, and consequently are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume from the standpoint of pesticide contamination:
Sweet peas (frozen)
Why should you care about pesticides? The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood. Here’s a video in which I address the importance of avoiding pesticides.
Also keep in mind that maintaining your family’s health is not the only reason to choose organic food. Pesticide and herbicide use contaminates groundwater, ruins soil structures and promotes erosion, and may be a contributor to “colony collapse disorder,” the sudden and mysterious die-off of pollinating honeybees that threatens the American food supply. Buying or growing organic food is good for the health of the planet.