Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tests conventional (not organic) fruits and vegetables to assess the level of pesticides. The EWG released their findings this past week in the form of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen lists of 2019. Along with some other shocking facts, like nearly 70% of the conventionally grown produce sold in the United States contain pesticide residues!

(Access last year’s list and article here!)

What is the “Dirty Dozen”?

There were 225 different pesticides and pesticide by-products found during the testing process. The Dirty Dozen is a list of the fruits and veggies that had the highest amount of pesticides present. And to be clear, all produce was washed before being tested!

Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach *
  3. Kale *
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

*Spinach and kale both had on average 10-80% more pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

What is the “Clean Fifteen”?

You guessed it, this list is the opposite of the Dirty Dozen. More than 70% of the fruits and veggies on the Clean Fifteen list had no pesticide residue at all. With only 6% of the samples containing 2 or more pesticides present.

The Clean Fifteen

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn *
  3. Pineapples
  4. Sweet peas frozen
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas *
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbages
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew Melons

*A portion of corn, papaya, and summer squash crops sold in the United States come from genetically modified seeds. If you want to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs), buy these organic.

Now What?

If you read any of my content on toxin-related topics, I probably sound like a broken record. But I’m going to say it again – everyone has different health goals, financial situations, and different degrees of access to organic produce depending on location. The bottom line is, do what you can. My goal of talking about this is simply to inform you, the consumer, about what is being put into the body. Informed decisions are the best ones!

When buying all produce organic is not realistic, prioritize the Dirty Dozen. The Clean Fifteen can be bottom priority for buying organic since they contain the least amount of pesticides.

With pregnant and breastfeeding mamas, as well as children, I encourage buying organic as much as possible. These are high risk and vulnerable groups where pesticides can have a deeper impact. To read more about how pesticides act as toxins, go to How Toxins Impact Health.

For a list of helpful and informative resources, go here. It even includes maps of local farmers in your area to have easier access to organic produce. Or even easier, delivery services straight to your door!

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