The Dirty Dozen

The Twelve Most Contaminated Non-organic Fruits and Vegetables

People often ask me what the benefits of switching to organic are when they are admittedly more expensive to buy. I tell them simply that there are always hidden costs to cheap food. As one of my teachers once said, pay for it now, or pay for it later. Study after study has shown that organic foods are richer in nutrients and less harmful on the environment, contributing to better health, soil, air and water. They have much less contamination of toxic pesticides that may contribute to nervous system dysfunction, birth defects, miscarriages, hormone disruption, skin, lung and eye irritation, or even cancer. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 90 percent of fungicides, 60 percent of herbicides and 30 percent of insecticides are known to cause cancer.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently conducted a Meta-analysis (research analysis of numerous research studies) of 87,000 studies occurring between 2000-2007 by the U.S Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration on pesticide contamination of the 47 most commonly eaten foods.

They ranked these foods from the highest level of pesticide contamination to the lowest level of pesticide contamination. They also determined that a person can reduce their pesticide consumption by 80% if they avoid their consumption of the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables. This means that instead of consuming up to 10 pesticides a day by eating these foods, you could reduce your consumption to only 2 pesticides a day by eating the Clean 15 Foods.

So here it is….

“The Dirty Dozen”

  • Peach
  • Apple
  • Sweet Bell Pepper
  • Celery
  • Nectarine
  • Strawberries

  • Cherries
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Imported Grapes
  • Carrot
  • Pear

“The Clean 15”

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Frozen sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Kiwi

  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Sweet Potato

For more information on this study and pesticides, visit

Posted on Thursday October 22, 2009 by Kerri Cooper