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When to Eat Organic… 15 Clean and 12 Dirty Foods

When to Eat Organic… 15 Clean and 12 Dirty Foods

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"The best avenue, currently, to mitigate exposure to pesticides is through food."

The health world has known about the dangers of pesticides for many years. Synthetic pesticide has many suspected side effects ranging from infertility to cancer which has led to the use of an organic pesticide. Organic pesticide uses more natural pesticides.

Organic pesticides are designed to help crops yield more by keeping bugs and diseases away, while also not affecting humans. Organic pesticides have been proven to be much better than synthetic.

But natural does not always mean better in the case of pesticides. Organic pesticides may have some negative environmental effects that synthetic pesticides do not have and may, in some cases, be worse. It is also suspected that organic pesticide can lead to Parkinson’s. These effects are still being studied.

But here’s the good news! These side effects typically occur when high amounts of pesticides are consumed or absorbed.

Unfortunately, humans can be exposed to pesticides in multiple ways. Exposure can occur by breathing it, absorbing it through the skin, and consuming it.

Most adults are exposed to pesticides through food, but children tend to be exposed through food and the environment. Pesticides can stay in the soil for years after use. Also, pesticides can be carried to your property by wind where it can be absorbed by the skin or inhaled.

Some of these environmental dilemmas are harder to mitigate. But the Trump administration is pushing for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change how they determine what pesticides are safe. No matter your feelings on Trump, this a step in the right direction for pesticides!

The best avenue, currently, to mitigate exposure to pesticides is through food. Washing and peeling food can get rid of a lot of pesticides, but not all. It is better to avoid foods that tend to have higher amounts of pesticides.

The Environmental Working Group has released the 2018 Dirty Dozen list. These foods are ones that have tested high for one or more pesticides. The foods to avoid are:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes

These foods were all non-organic. Organic versions of these foods will always be better for you. Organic, though it has suspected side effects, is much better than synthetic pesticide because it uses natural ingredients.

The Environmental Working Group has also released a Clean 15 list. This list contains foods that tested negative for pesticides. Again, these are all non-organic.

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangos
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli

Pesticides are all around us, but we can take measures to limit our exposure by choosing clean foods. The organic versions of the dirty list will be much better for you, so strawberries are not completely off your list of food choices.

Learn more about other alternative sugar to avoids with our article “5 Sugar Alternatives that are Basically Sugar.” 


Haspel, T. (2018, May 21). The truth about organic produce and pesticides. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/the-truth-about-organic-produce-and-pesticides/2018/05/18/8294296e-5940-11e8-858f-12becb4d6067_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b2c7c2d085df

Radcliffe, S. (2018, September 11). Worried About Pesticide Exposure? Here’s What You Need to Know. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/pesticide-exposure-heres-what-you-need-to-know#1

Thorpe, M., MD, PhD. (2017, May 03). Are Pesticides in Foods Harming Your Health? Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pesticides-and-health

World Health Organization. (2018, February 19). Pesticide residues in food. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/pesticide-residues-in-food

Zerbe, L. (2018, September 21). Dirty Dozen List Is Out! DDT Detected on Spinach & Single Strawberry Sample Tested Positive for 22 Pesticides (But That's Not the Worst of It). Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://draxe.com/dirty-dozen/