You are grocery shopping and feeling pretty proud about your cart. It’s loaded with fruits and vegetables and you already feel healthier just looking at it. But did you know that unless you are buying organic produce, you could be consuming pesticides? Yep, it’s true.

Sure, consuming fruits and vegetables are crucial to a healthy lifestyle, but at what cost? Some say that ingesting pesticide residue over a long period of time can have health risks associated with it such as neurological damage, increased risk for certain cancers, and infertility. We live in a world that is overflowing with chemicals and we need to do anything we can to reduce our exposure. That’s why it is super important to buy organic produce, especially when it comes to the dirty dozen.

What is the dirty dozen? It’s a list of conventionally grown produce items compiled by the EWG that contain pesticide residue from highest to lowest levels. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has been ranking fruits and vegetables since 2004 from the “cleanest” to the “dirtiest”.

How “dirty” you ask? Well, more than 97% of samples from strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples were positive for at LEAST one pesticide. Yikes! Rinsing produce in the sink is a good way to REDUCE pesticide residue. However, it won’t remove it completely. You can also soak produce in a baking soda and water solution which may be more effective at removing pesticides.

So next time you are buying produce, be on the lookout for organic versions of at least these 12:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
  6. Peaches
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Celery
  11. Potatoes
  12. Bell Peppers

We urge you to buy organic. If you can’t, here is the list of the clean 15, or the items that have the least amount of pesticide residue:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet frozen peas
  7. Papaya
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli