EWG's updated "Dirty Dozen," or: You Little Miscreant Vegetables You!!

"The dirty dozen." Perhaps you're familiar with the term? By the Environmental Working Group's definition, it refers to the twelve types of produce that test with the highest pesticide and chemical residue, even after being rinsed and peeled. In other words, these are the most devious of all fruits and vegetables; little miscreants determined to trick you into ingesting all kind of unpleasant and potentially toxic residues along with your delicious dinner...

My boyfriend has huge issues with the term "organic" -- objections based quite logically on the fact that all material containing carbon molecules are (by Chemistry-class definition anyway) "organic." So when I talk about, say, wanting to buy organic apples, he usually gets completely derailed from the topic at hand onto a rant about the inaccuracies of language, and how misleading it is to pretend that "organic" means "better" when technically it doesn't mean that at all, since everything from Twinkies to pine trees qualifies as "organic." As you might imagine, these conversations go a lot more smoothly when I stay one step ahead by using phrases like, "pesticide free" and "non-chemically treated" instead.

That said, so far in my monthly Green Goals I've tackled the switch to "pesticide free produce" for three different items on the Environmental Working Group's list: spinach, potatoes, and apples. But wouldn't you know... the Dirty Dozen was updated this year, and both of the first two were shuffled right off of the list! That isn't to say they became magically cleaner necessarily, just that they got bumped down to #14 and 15... To my way of thinking, if I take away the items on the DD that I never eat (namely, celery, pears, and collard greens) then spinach and potatoes fall neatly back within my own personalized "Nasty Twelve." ;P This is the official version though:

Top 12 Trickster Produce (smuggling pesticides!!)
1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Kale
9. Lettuce
10. Grapes (imported)
11. Carrots
12. Pears

The nice thing about keeping track of the Dirty Dozen is that by avoiding those twelve alone (or by switching to their non-chemically treated counterparts), it's possible to reduce your accidental consumption of pesticides by as much as 80%! If you're curious, or haven't seen this year's changes yet, be sure to download the updated pocket guide to the Dirty Dozen (and its opposite list, the Clean Fifteen) at the Environmental Working Group's website. Forget about elaborate detox regimens (lemon juice and cayenne, anyone?)... this is a highly practical method of eliminating certain toxins at the source.

1 comment

  1. so awesome! thank you so much! i'm really trying to switch us over to organic, but this sheds some light on what is esp worth that switch.

    how are you doing?


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