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The Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen

Organic Raw Green Avocados Sliced in HalfWhat is the Dirty Dozen?

The “Dirty Dozen” is a list of the top 12 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides.  The list is published yearly by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization that brings awareness to (among other things) levels of toxicity in our environment, including our food.

We eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Why does it matter if they are organic?

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a great start.  The fiber, vitamins, nutrients and phytonutrients found in produce are essential to our health.  However, unless the produce you buy is certified organic, it has likely been grown with the use of pesticides.  Below is an excerpt from the EWG website (1) regarding strawberries, the #1 food on the Dirty Dozen 2016 list:

Nearly all strawberry samples – 98 percent – tested by federal officials had detectable pesticide residues. Forty percent had residues of 10 or more pesticides and some had residues of 17 different pesticides. Some of the chemicals detected on strawberries are relatively benign, but others are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental damage, hormone disruption and neurological problems.

The article goes on to state that:

Recent studies of insecticides used on some fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, found that children exposed to high levels were at greater risk of impaired intelligence and ADHD.

Conventional to Organic:  Making The Switch

Making the switch from buying conventionally grown fruits and vegetables (not organic) to organic can be a financial investment.  One way to curb this cost is to buy seasonally.  Taking a trip to your local farmer’s market will reveal all that the season has to offer; you just may find that buying organic when buying seasonally may not make as much of an impact on your wallet as you might think.

The 2016 Dirty Dozen

If you can only buy some organic fruits and vegetables, keep this list (2) of the 2016 Dirty Dozen handy.  The following are the top 12 conventionally grown foods found to contain the most pesticides:










Sweet Bell Peppers

Cherry Tomatoes


What is the Clean Fifteen?

The “Clean Fifteen” (3) are the 15 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables found to contain the least amount of pesticides.  Again from the EWG website:

No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than four types of pesticides, and very few for more than one.

The 2016 Clean Fifteen List

Of the 48 most popular foods tested, the following 15 were shown to have the least amount of pesticides:


Sweet Corn



Sweet peas (frozen)







Honeydew Melon




If you have questions about your diet, nutrition or digestion, we are here to help!  To learn more, call our office today at (773) 348-6908 to book a consultation with Chiropractor and certified Loomis Digestive Health Specialist, Dr. Sarah Weber.

  1. http://www.ewg.org/release/ewg-s-2016-dirty-dozen-list-pesticides-produce-strawberries-most-contaminated-apples-drop
  2. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php
  3. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean_fifteen_list.php

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