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The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen | How to Buy Fruits and Vegetables

The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen | How to Buy Fruits and Vegetables

Have you heard of The Dirty Dozen?

This might sound like a Hollywood blockbuster, but you’d be more likely to encounter them in your local grocery store than you are at the box office.

The Dirty Dozen refers to the top 12 fruits and vegetables that are 
highly recommended to buy organic. The list is put out by the Environmental Working Group annually, along with the Clean Fifteen - the crops grown with the least amount of pesticides. These lists are informed by the Pesticide Data Program, which is a pesticide monitoring program enacted by the US government.

Data makes the argument for organic pretty irrefutable if you needed any convincing. Research from these reports shows that as much as 70% of conventional produce contains pesticide residue. Strawberries are at the top of the list with reporting showing that they can contain as much as 
TWENTY-TWO different pesticides in just one sample (1). Spinach consistently comes in at the number two spot, with 97% of samples containing pesticides.

Countless studies link repeated exposure to pesticides with a variety of health issues and diseases. The impact of ingestion of these toxins on our health might not be immediately apparent, but over time, even low-level exposure can take its toll. According to the Pesticide Action Network in the UK, “Low doses don’t always cause immediate effects, but over time, they can cause very serious illnesses. Long term pesticide exposure has been linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease; asthma; depression and anxiety; attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); and cancer, including leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Next time you go to make a grocery run, go informed. Here are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists for 2019.

The Dirty Dozen

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes

The Clean Fifteen

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Eggplants
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbages
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupes
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Honeydew Melon


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