Which Non-Organic Foods Are Safest? The “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15”

Photo: Our grateful thanks to Louis Hansel on Unsplash!

by Marcel Hernandez, N.D.

Marcel Hernandez, ND

We’ve all heard the warnings about pesticides in our food. But how can we keep our bodies safe?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiles a yearly list of the “Dirty Dozen” most pesticide-ridden items in the produce section.

They also list the safest fruits and vegetables with the least pesticides – the “Clean 15.

Sadly, the EWG reports that potentially toxic pesticide residue is still found in 70% of non-organic fresh fruits and vegetables. These are the 12 most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables – the worst of the worst. If you want to reduce your exposure, these are the items to avoid.

The Dirty Dozen (Non-Organic) Foods Most Likely to Contain Pesticide Residues

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard, and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell & hot peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

The Clean 15 for 2022

When organic options aren’t available or are too expensive, the EWG recommends limiting produce consumption to the Clean Fifteen.

This year, almost 70% of Clean Fifteen samples had no detectable pesticide residues whatsoever. Few or no pesticides were detected in the following (non-organic) fruits and vegetables.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn (beware of GMO)
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papayas (beware of GMO)
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet potatoes

Government-Approved Does NOT Mean Safe!

The EWG explains that for the 70-plus-percent of non-organic produce with detectable pesticides, nearly all fall within the legal levels allowed by government regulations.

Obviously, “legal” doesn’t mean “safe”! Pesticides are toxic by design. Many pesticides are linked to serious human health issues, including hormone disruption, brain and nervous system toxicity, and cancer.

Recent research at Harvard revealed that consuming fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residues may offset the protection that eating fresh (non-organic) fruits and veggies would otherwise provide against cardiovascular disease and mortality.

Babies and children are particularly vulnerable to many of the harms associated with pesticide exposure. Research published by EWG in 2020 found that the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees pesticide safety, is failing to adequately consider children in setting legal limits for 90 percent of the most common pesticides.

The threats pesticides pose to children’s health have been known since at least 1993, when the National Academies of Science published a landmark study warning of inadequate oversight.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents concerned about their children’s exposure to pesticides consult the EWG Shopper’s Guide.

Source: Pro Health

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