The fruits and vegetables that rank the highest in pesticide load are known as the Dirty Dozen...
The EWG advises that if you canít afford to buy all organic produce, you should at least buy organic versions of these 12 items. There are also two extra Dirty Dozen Plus vegetables on the list. The explanation for those is below.
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
Clean 15 list
The produce that ends up on the bottom of the list, those with the least amount of pesticide contamination are known as the Clean 15. If you canít afford to buy organic, but you want to be exposed as little as possible to pesticides, these 15 fruits and vegetables should make up a good amount of what you eat.
- Sweet potatoes
- Sweet peas Ė frozen
Dirty Dozen Plus category
This plus category includes domestically grown summer squash and leafy greens, specifically kale and collards. While they didnít make the top 12, they were found to be commonly contaminated with pesticides that are exceptionally toxic to the nervous system, including organochlorine, which has been banned for home use and withdrawn for many agricultural uses, but is still applied to certain commercial crops.
Keep in mind that the information in EWGís Shopperís Guide to Pesticides in Produce is based on produce bought at supermarkets. If you shop at farmers markets, you can ask the farmers about their growing practices. Even if what they sell isnít certified organic, many of them farm very sustainably. If youíre confident that your farmer uses as few pesticides as possible, many of those foods on the Dirty Dozen become good choices, even if they arenít certified organic.