The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen

{This news came out earlier this year, but I really think that it’s worth posting again, both for those who may have missed it, as well as a reminder for the rest of us.}

There is increasing evidence that consuming pesticides can disrupt various systems in our body, as well as lead to cancer. And while most of us would rather eat organic, it might not always be possible to do so based on the availability, as well as the increased cost of purchasing organic fruits and vegetables. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has made it a little bit easier for everyone, by posting a list of 49 fruits and vegetables, and ranking them in order of their pesticide residue levels. Here’s the big news: if you can avoid buying non-organic versions of the bottom “Dirty Dozen”, then you can reduce your pesticide exposure by up to 80%! That’s a significant number, and I think something that we can all try to achieve.

Here’s a list of the “Dirty Dozen” (fruits & veggies with the most pesticide residue), as well as the “Clean Fifteen” (those with the least):


Click for full-size version, which you can print-out and take with you when shopping!

Note that this research is based on US data, but it should apply to Canada as well, since a lot of its fruits and vegetables come from the States (especially during winter months). The EWG compiled this list by reviewing approximately 96,000 studies by the USDA and FDA between 2000-2008. While there are many fruits and vegetables that are not on this list, these were chosen because they are most commonly eaten. The fruits and vegetables were washed or peeled as most people use the produce – so apples were washed and bananas were peeled.

Check out the full ranking of pesticides in 47 fruits and vegetables and watch Dr. Weil’s thoughts on the initiative, below. Note how he mentions that if he can’t get the bottom twelve items in organic form, then he doesn’t eat them at all. I’m not sure about the stats in Australia, but I’m playing it safe and following the same rules. I already buy organic apples, but the tough ones for me are non-organic sweet bell peppers (capsicum) and spinach, which I consume loads of on a weekly basis. I really need to source-out organic versions of them as much as possible. What about you? Do you try to buy organic when you can?

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