What to Buy Organic


Every year Environmental Working Group (EWG) assembles their Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce in which they analyze USDA data on pesticide exposure on fruits and vegetables. They then compile a list of those with the highest amounts and those with the lowest deeming them the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. While the EPA uses risk of exposure methodology to set tolerance levels at which deem all of these pesticides “safe,” those of us who are wary of the hidden toxins in our environment tend to like to take our assessments into our own hands. Buying organic, in general is a good idea, but currently prices on this produce can be hard to reach. To appease your budget and your body (and the bodies of those you love) it is nice to know those fruits and veggies with the most pesticide residues, the Dirty Dozen, and those with the least, the Clean 15.

Highlights from the Dirty Dozen include extremely high incidences of pesticide residue on apples, peaches, and nectarines, the potato’s high pesticide by weight levels, and the amount of pesticide residues on grapes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas and strawberries.

Highlights from the Clean Fifteen include extremely low incidences of pesticide residue on avocados; low incidences of residue on pineapples, kiwis, papayas, mangoes and cantaloupe and; very low incidences of multiple pesticide residues on the vegetables on this list.

Check out the EWG report page to read the full executive summary and download the guide, or simply check out the full lists at the links below.

Image via Flickr 


Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson

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