Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use this guide to pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible. This Guide will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.
The Dirty Dozen has a Plus category to highlight two crops — green beans and leafy greens, meaning, kale and collard greens – that did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen criteria but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides. These insecticides are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the past decade; but they are not banned and still show up on some food crops.
Commodity crop corn used for animal feed and biofuels is almost all produced with genetically modified (GMO) seeds, as is some sweet corn sold for human consumption. Since GMO sweet corn is not labeled as such in US stores, I advise those who have concerns about GMOs to buy organic sweet corn.
DIRTY DOZEN PLUS CLEAN (LOWEST IN PESTICIDES)
1/ Apples 1/ Onions
2/ Celery 2/ Sweet Corn (gmo’s)
3/ Sweet Bell peppers 3/ Pineapple
4/ Peaches 4/ Avocado
5/ Strawberries 5/ Cabbage
6/ Nectarines (Imported) 6/ Sweet Peas
7/ Grapes 7/ Asparagus
8/ Spinach 8/ Mango
9/ Lettuce 9/ Eggplant
10/ Cucumbers 10/ Kiwi
11/ Blueberries- domestic 11/ Canteloupe- domestic
12/ Potatoes 12/ Sweet Potato
13/ Green Beans ++ 13/ Grapefruit
14/ Kale++ 14/ Grapefruit
15/ Collard Greens+++ 15/ Watermelon
Lifewise recommends buying organic produce if you can – for adults and babies. But sometimes organic produce can cost more or isn’t available. You can use a product called “Nature CLean” produce wash, which will remove some of the residue. Eating required servings of fruits and vegetables per day from the Clean 15 list rather than from the Dirty Dozen, or buying organic, can lower your pesticide intake by up to 92 percent!