The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has produced a new wallet-size Shoppers' Guide listing the 12 fruits and vegetables that are the most contaminated with pesticides (the "Dirty Dozen"), as well as those that generally contain the lowest amount of pesticides (the "Cleanest 12").
The information is based on nearly 43,000 tests conducted by the USDA and FDA.
The last EWG Guide was issued in 2003, and there have been several revisions to the list. Carrots have been removed from the most contaminated list, but lettuce has been added.
Likewise, cauliflower is no longer listed as one of the cleanest vegetables, but cabbage is now one of those "clean" 12.
An analysis by the EWG estimated that consumers could reduce their exposure to pesticides by almost 90 percent merely by avoiding foods on their "Dirty Dozen" list. A few members of that list include:
- Sweet bell peppers
Conversely, the "Cleanest 12," according to the EWG, only expose you to less than two pesticides per day, a huge difference from the 15 pesticides per day you'd be exposed to with the fruits and vegetables on the "Dirty Dozen" list. Among the cleanest fruits and vegetables you can buy at your grocery store: