The growing consensus among scientists is that certain doses of pesticides and other chemicals can possibly cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Some scientists are warning of the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals and advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.
According to the Environmental Working Group, consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80 percent by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only the cleanest. If consumers get their USDA-recommended five daily servings of fruits and veggies from those that are most contaminated, they could possibly consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally grown produce will likely ingest fewer than two pesticides daily.
EWG has been publishing guides to the "dirty dozen" of the most pesticide contaminated foods since 1995, based on statistical analysis of testing conducted by the USDA and the FDA. The dirty dozen list only reflects measurable pesticide residues on the parts of the foods normally consumed (i.e. after being washed and peeled). Below is the latest EWG guide to the "dirty dozen," along with recommendations for foods other than fruits and vegetables that are best bought organic, along with information about antibiotics, hormones and the impact of producing food on the surrounding environment.
When shopping for these fruits, vegetables and other foods, keep this list handy in order to avoid those with the highest pesticide residue.