The Dirty Dozen, updated

The Twelve Most Contaminated Non-Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Common sense should tell us that all food in our food supply should be chemical free. Unfortunately, as hard as it is to believe (but apparently easy to accept), this is not the case today. If we want to keep hormone-disrupting pesticides and other cancer causing chemicals out of our bodies we must go out of our way to seek out, and yes, pay more for chemical free food.

The easiest way to do this is to switch to certified organic. Certified organic food must meet high standards of natural, old fashioned farming that keep herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and insecticides out of our food and soil. Organic farmers have to work that much harder to promote the natural ecology of their soil thus promoting healthier, stronger plants and more nutritious foods.

While certified organic food is best for the reasons listed above, you can also reduce your pesticide load by avoiding the consumption of non-organic foods from the “dirty dozen” list. According to the EWG, a person can reduce their pesticide consumption by 80% if they avoid the 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.

And why avoid pesticides? These post-war chemicals 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’s (EWG) “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides” was updated in 2011 ranking the most commonly eaten fruits and vegetables from the highest level of pesticide contamination to the lowest level of pesticide contamination. This was based on a meta-analysis (research analysis of numerous studies) of 51,000 studies occurring between 2000-2009 by the U.S Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

So without further ado, here are the updated lists for the
“Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15”:

“The Dirty Dozen”

  • Peach
  • Apple
  • Sweet Bell Pepper
  • Celery
  • Nectarine (imported)
  • Strawberries

  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Lettuce
  • Imported Grapes
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach

“The Clean 15”

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Kiwi

  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Mushroom
  • Sweet Potato

For more information on this study and pesticides, visit:

Posted on Wednesday August 10, 2011 by Kerri Cooper