It is important to avoid exposure to pesticides because we know they can have a negative impact on our health, including neurotoxicity, immune system suppression, development of cancers, and reproductive problems.  It would therefore make sense when we’re purchasing produce, to choose fruits and vegetables that are chemical-free.  Organically grown food is always preferable since it is not contaminated with chemical residues that can be harmful to humans. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently published its annual rating of conventional produce with the most and least pesticide residues.  Here are the highlights:

The Dirty Dozen (produce with the most pesticide residue)

Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes

The Clean 15 (produce with the least pesticide residue)

Avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes

In addition, conventional kale, collard greens, and hot peppers have been found to have trace amounts of insecticides toxic to the human nervous system, but don’t meet all the criteria to be included in “The Dirty Dozen”.  Again, the bottom line here is to buy organic produce whenever possible, but especially those fruits and vegetables included in “The Dirty Dozen”.

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