The dirty dozen and the clean 15 refer respectively to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use, according to the Environmental Working Group.
Why should you care?
Pesticides are toxic by design! Different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including hormone disruption, cancer and brain toxicity. But for most people, switching to organic produce is a gradual process. Because organic foods tend to be more expensive than their counterparts, making informed choices in the produce aisle helps minimize pesticide consumption while keeping the budget in check!
Should you avoid the dirty dozen?
Absolutely not! Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a healthier choice than processed foods. Which is where the dirty dozen and the clean 15 come into play. The list is a resource to help you make the best choices for your health and for the earth, whatever your current budget or state of greenness.
If you are juicing I recommend that you use organic whenever possible.
If pesticides are present on the surfaces of your fruits and vegetables, you can definitely remove a substantial amount of those surface pesticides through careful washing and light scrubbing. However, you cannot remove all of them nor can you remove pesticides that have been incorporated into the fruits and vegetables while they were growing.
The Dirty Dozen (in order of contamination)
Sweet bell peppers
The Clean 15 (in order of least contamination)