Exposure to pesticides in foods has been linked to many health conditions including cancer. After all, it makes sense that we put both into our bodies and on our bodies affect our bodies. To help guide consumers on what produce they should really try to buy organic (grown without the use of pesticides), the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organization, has released its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This guide does change slightly from year to year.
The Dirty Dozen includes the 12 most pesticide-laden foods. When choosing fruits & veggies listed on the Dirty Dozen (see below for list), try to buy ORGANIC.
2013 Dirty Dozen List
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
The Clean 15 include the 15 least pesticide-laden foods. If the fruit or veggie is listed on the Clean 15, it’s ok to buy it as non-organic or conventional.
2013 Clean 15 list
- Sweet potatoes
- Sweet peas – frozen
* Keep in mind that the information above is based on produce bought at supermarkets. If you shop at farmers markets, ask about their growing practices. Even if what they sell isn’t certified organic, many local farmers use as few pesticides as possible, making the foods on the Dirty Dozen become good choices, even if they aren’t certified organic.
* The EWG also maintains that the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. So it’s better to eat conventionally-grown produce than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.