They are known as the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen: 12 fruits and vegetables loaded with pesticides and chemicals that have been proven to be detrimental to our health and our environment, and 15 pesticide and chemical-free fruits and veggies that are safe for all of us.
1. The Dirty Dozen
Put together by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), these two lists should be on your mind when you do your grocery shopping. How else would you know that 98% of conventionally-grown apples in the US have pesticides, or that 57 different types of pesticides have been found on celery? If you or someone you know don’t see the harm in pesticides, be aware that they have been linked, from independent research scientists and physicians across the world, to brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, and skin, eye and lung irritation. Click here to learn more about pesticides on produce.
Rather than refraining from buying these fruits and veggies, buy them organic as often as you can. Yes, they will cost more, but your health is priceless (and the medical bill will be much higher than 50 cents!), and so is a pesticide-free environment. Here is the full list:
3. Sweet bell peppers
6. Nectarines – imported
11. Blueberries – domestic
EWG also added two new crops to the list this year: green beans and leafy greens (kale and collard). Although they don’t contain the same pesticides as the other 12, they are nonetheless commonly contaminated with highly toxic insecticides called organophosphates which are toxic to the nervous system. These insecticides have supposedly been removed from agriculture but still show up on some crops somehow.
2. The Clean Fifteen
On the other hand, no need to spend more when you don’t have to: onions, pineapples and avocadoes, for exampe are very low in pesticides so you can buy them conventionally –grown without any worries. Sweet corn is number 2 on the list, however since most of corn crops are produced with genetically modified (GMO) seeds, do buy organic sweet corn.
2. Sweet Corn
6. Sweet peas
11. Cantaloupe - domestic
12. Sweet potatoes
If you don’t think you can remember them all, you can receive the EWG’s guide by email and print out their PDF version, or download an app for your smart phone, by clicking here.