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Dirty Dozen & Clean 15: Do I Need to Buy Organic?

Dirty Dozen & Clean 15: Do I Need to Buy Organic?

We all know that pesticides are harmful and we should try to avoid them whenever possible, but at what cost? I often find myself spending over budget when trying to eat healthy by purchasing organic fruits and veggies. In some cases, it is important to buy organic produce, as it can reduce the amount of toxins we consume and will therefore reduce the risk of getting cancer. However, there are certain items that are safe to consume in a non-organic form – as they have little to no traces of pesticides.

Clean 15

These are the fruits and vegetables you should not be afraid to purchase in non-organic form:

  1. Onions
  2. Avocados
  3. Sweet corn
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mangoes
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwis
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Cauliflower
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet potatoes
  15. Papayas

The Dirty Dozen+

These are the fruits and vegetables that have the most traces of toxins (buy these organically!)

  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Cherry Tomatoes
  6. Nectarines
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Potatoes
  11. Grapes (Imported)
  12. Spinach
  13. Hot Chilies
  14. Kale & Collard Greens

One of the largest differences between these two lists is that the Clean 15 group has a protective outer layer of skin which is used in defense of pesticides. And while washing your produce won’t fully eliminate contaminants, it is still recommended as this will reduce pesticide exposure. If you don’t see all the produce you usually purchase, visit the Environmental Working Group (an organization of scientists, researchers, and policy makers who created “the dirty dozen” and “the clean 15”). to see the full list tested.

Here is a handy list to print or



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Heather Haworth, PT, DPT

Heather Haworth, PT, DPT

She enjoys traveling and hopes to step foot on 6 of the 7 continents (Antarctica is just too cold!) while she is still young. Heather’s other interests include reading, hiking, drinking coffee, being active, and playing with dogs.