The EWG's 2013 Dirty Dozen

The EWG's 2013 Dirty Dozen

If you’re not aboard the organic ship, it may be time to reconsider. Especially when it comes to 2013’s Dirty Dozen TM also known as the produce with the most pesticide residue on it. Find out more about The Dirty Dozen from the Environmental Working Group and why you should care about what’s on your food.


According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization of scientists, researchers and policymakers, consuming certain types of organic produce can reduce the amount of toxins you consume on a daily basis by as much as 80 percent.

That’s because the fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen TM  list, when conventionally grown test positive for 47 to 67 different chemicals. Chemicals that consumers are putting into their bodies. For reference the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) tested the presence of chemicals on the produce after they were washed with a high-power pressure water system. The pressure washer they use is far more powerful than rinsing off fruits and vegetables in the kitchen sink. It is typical of the Dirty Dozen TM to have more permeable skins, whereas the pesticides can get into the soft skin of a strawberry or a nectarine much easier than a pumpkin.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables. The EWG advocates that the health benefits of eating a fruit and vegetable rich diet is greater than the exposure to pesticides. Even eating conventionally-grown produce is better than avoiding fresh produce altogether.
The Dirty Dozen TM is specifically looking at which fruits and vegetables you should buy organic (if you have the opportunity and the budget to do so.) When you buy organic you are buying produce that hasn’t been treated with the toxic chemicals the USDA tests for.
Some of the pesticides they see contain highly toxic chemicals like organophosphates. Organophosphates are currently being withdrawn from agriculture, but are still showing up on the produce from the 1970s and 1980s. That is why the EWG has included it in their Dirty Dozen Plus  TM list. Items included on the Dirty Dozen Plus TM include summer squash like zucchini and crookneck squash. While the chemical has been phased out, it is still present in the soil.
Here is this year’s Dirty Dozen Plus TM list. Keep this in mind when you are purchasing your produce. And always remember, to eat your fruits and veggies.
2013’s Dirty Dozen TM
Cherry Tomatoes
Hot Peppers
Nectarines (imported)
Sweet Bell Peppers
+Kale/Collard Greens
+Summer Squash


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