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Have you heard about the Dirty Dozen or Clean 15 lists?  Until recently I had never heard of these two lists myself.  After having a friend give me a brief explanation about these lists, I decided to do some research to find out more.  I’ll start with the Dirty Dozen.

The Dirty Dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables that are ranked according to the largest amount of pesticide residue.  Fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue are located at the top of the list.  The Clean 15 lists produce that is grown using conventional farming methods and is less likely to test positive for pesticides.  The Environmental Working Group or EWG for short, publishes yearly lists of fruits and vegetables with the highest level of pesticides based on data from the USDA.  These lists can assist you in determining whether or not you should buy organic or conventionally grown fruits and veggies.  With organic produce typically being more expensive than its conventionally grown counterpart, the dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 lists allow you make informed choices when purchasing produce.

The 2012 Dirty Dozen list is made up of: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines (imported), grapes (imported), sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries (domestic), lettuce, kale/collard greens, and cilantro.  For those of you who counted, I listed more than 12 items.  That’s because the list is actually made up of 53 items.  If you’re like me, you’ll realize that memorizing 12 items, much less 53, is a bit difficult.  Fortunately, you can download the complete list via a simple app or as a PDF from EWG’s website.  The app is available for most phones and tablets.  Use “Dirty Dozen” when doing an app search.

The Clean 15 is made of the following: onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocados, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe (domestic), kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms.  If you eat 5 servings from the Clean 15, you’ll be consuming less than two pesticides per day.  This is awesome news since some produce, like non-organic kale and other collard greens, still have residues of highly toxic organophosphate insecticides that are toxic to your nervous system.  If you download the Dirty Dozen app or PDF you’ll get the Clean 15 list as well.

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 lists provide you with more flexibility when purchasing produce.  Please note that eating fruits and vegetables that are grown via conventional means is better that none at all, and certainly better than eating fast food.  So go out there and do some smart shopping!  


Guest Blogger for Integrative Wellness