The EWG's 2019 Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen
We are exposed to many different environmental chemicals each day. There are things we can prioritize in our daily routine, to help limit our exposure. We don’t always have control of what goes on around us, but we do have control over what comes into our homes and what we eat. While the price of organic food has started to come down, it is generally still more expensive than conventionally grown crops. This can be a barrier for many people.
A great strategy to implement, if you are trying to make more healthful choices and limit your exposure to pesticides, is following the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen list released by the Environmental Working Group.
The EWG updates the list every year and it shows the 12 crops most contaminated with pesticides (dirty) versus the 15 least contaminated crops (clean). The Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists make it easier for you to decide which foods are safe and healthy to eat, and which are worth prioritizing and spending extra on when it comes to organic produce.
The avocado sits at the top of the EWG’s Clean Fifteen List, with less than 1% of the avocados tested showing any pesticide or pesticide residue. Another great reason to eat those healthy fats!
Why should we limit our exposure?
Listed below is a list of known health effects of long-term pesticide exposure:
Pesticides are also known endocrine disruptors. An endocrine disruptor is a substance that interferes with hormones and hormone balance.
Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body. They are necessary to regulate different bodily functions including metabolism, appetite, sleep, stress, reproductive and sexual functions, heart rate, growth and development, and mood.
reduced semen quality
genital malformations, testicular and prostate cancer
the appearance of cysts in the ovaries
diabetes and obesity
neurological disorders, especially disorders in brain development and degenerative diseases in the brain, such as Parkinson’s disease
cancer, including leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
hyper and hypo thyroid
The visual below represents, in order of severity, the 12 most contaminated crops for 2019. Do you notice how each of these foods have permeable skin? This trait is a good indicator that pesticides have likely been absorbed through the skin and into the food itself.
The Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen is a list of produce least likely to contain pesticide residue. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods and tests found low concentrations of residue on them.
Are you curious about the fruit and vegetables not listed? Check out the full list here.