For many years the growing accord in science is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals sprayed on our fruits and vegetables is causing lasting damage to our health, particularly during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists at EWG research group know enough about the long-term penalties of consumption of these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our ingestion of pesticides.
Their research has found that people eating five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list ingest and average of 10 pesticides a day. While those who eat from the Clean 15 ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily.
The Clean 15 (lowest in pesticides)
- Sweet Corn (Frozen)
- Mangoes (Subtropical & Tropical)
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Kiwi Fruit (Subtropical & Tropical)
- Cantaloupe (Domestic)
- Sweet Potato
- Honeydew Melon
The Dirty Dozen (always buy organic)
- Blueberries (Domestic)
- Bell Peppers
- Kale/Collard Greens
- Grapes (Imported)
The produce was tested as it is typically eaten – meaning washed, rinsed or peeled. Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling helps, however so many nutrients are found in the skin. The best approach is to grow your own, eat a varied diet, rinse all produce, and buy organic whenever possible.
You can find a detailed description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at the dedicated website, foodnews.org.