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Executive Summary

EWG's 2013 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Eat fruits and vegetables!

The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides™ to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and choosing the least contaminated produce.

For the second year, we have expanded the Dirty Dozen™ with a Plus category to highlight two crops – domestically-grown summer squash and leafy greens, specifically kale and collards. These crops did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.

Though the Environmental Protection Agency has been restricting the uses of the most toxic pesticides, they are still detected on some foods. For example, green beans were on last year's Plus list because they were often contaminated with two highly toxic organophosphates. Those pesticides are being withdrawn from agriculture. But leafy greens still show residues of organophosphates and other risky pesticides. That's why they are on the Plus list for 2013.

Tests in 2008 found that some domestically-grown summer squash – zucchini and yellow crookneck squash -- contained residues of harmful organochlorine pesticides that were phased out of agriculture in the 1970s and 1980s but that linger on some farm fields.

Genetically modified plants, or GMOs, are not often found in the produce section of grocery stores. Field corn, nearly all of which is produced with genetically modified seeds, is used to make tortillas, chips, corn syrup, animal feed and biofuels. Because it is not sold as a fresh vegetable, it is not included in EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Nor is soy, another heavily GMO crop that makes its way into processed food.

The genetically modified crops likely to be found in produce aisles of American supermarkets are zucchini, Hawaiian papaya and some varieties of sweet corn. Most Hawaiian papaya is a GMO. Only a small fraction of zucchini and sweet corn are GMO. Since U.S. law does not require labeling of GMO produce, EWG advises people who want to avoid it to purchase the organically-grown versions of these items.

Dirty Dozen PlusTM

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Apples

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Celery

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Cherry tomatoes

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Cucumbers

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Grapes

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Hot peppers

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Nectarines - imported

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Peaches

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Potatoes

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Spinach

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Strawberries

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Sweet bell peppers

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Kale / collard greens +

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Summer squash +

 

Clean FifteenTM

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Asparagus

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Avocados

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Cabbage

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Cantaloupe

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Sweet Corn

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Eggplant

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Grapefruit

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Kiwi

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Mangos

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Mushrooms

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Onions

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Papayas

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Pineapples

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Sweet peas - frozen

 

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Plus Lists

Sweet potatoes

 

Dirty Dozen PlusTM

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Apples

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Strawberries

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Grapes

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Apples

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Celery

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Cherry tomatoes

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Cucumbers

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Grapes

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Hot peppers

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Nectarines - imported

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Peaches

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Potatoes

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Spinach

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Strawberries

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Sweet bell peppers

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Kale / Collard greens +

 

EWG's Dirty Dozen Plus List

Summer squash +

 

See more

Clean FifteenTM

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Sweet Corn

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Onions

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Pineapples

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Asparagus

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Avocados

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Cabbage

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Cantaloupe

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Corn

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Eggplant

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Grapefruit

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Kiwi

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Mangos

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Mushrooms

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Onions

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Papayas

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Pineapples

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Sweet peas - frozen

 

EWG's Clean Fifteen List

Sweet potatoes

 

See more

Helpful Videos

Watch Video
Harvard professor Chensheng (Alex) Lu explains why people should avoid pesticides.
Watch Video
Dr. Sanjay Gupta tours a grocery store to show us which foods have the highest levels of pesticide residue.

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