2014 Dirty Dozen List of Fruits & Veggies

Many of the produce items we consume regularly rank high in pesticide residue.

When you bite into a fruit or vegetable, you’re probably not expecting to get a mouthful of chemicals. However, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), many of the produce items that we consider to be healthy, and consume regularly, rank high in pesticide residue. Their 2014 dirty dozen produce list includes many staple ingredients.

Pesticides are toxic chemicals designed to kill insects. Their exact impact on human health when ingested from produce is a topic of concern; the results from research into potential health impacts is mixed, which is enough to merit caution.

MORE: A Beginner’s Guide to Organic Gardening

The following is the 2014 dirty dozen list of fruits and veggies for 2014.

1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Grapes
4. Celery
5. Peaches
6. Spinach
7. Sweet Bell Peppers
8. Nectarines (imported)
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap Peas
12. Potatoes

While they didn’t make the dirty dozen list, the EWG makes note of two more produce items of concern:

Hot peppers
Leafy greens

MORE: Environmental Toxins Linked to Weight Gain and Prediabetes

The produce items included on this list contain many health benefits and are part of a well-rounded diet. The answer, then, is not necessarily to stop eating them. You have other options. The easiest way to avoid produce contaminated with toxic chemicals is to buy organic. For some, however, access and affordability are obstacles. It’s also possible to buy conventional produce and wash it thoroughly with a mixture of rinsing and gentle scrubbing. While this won’t completely eliminate pesticide residue, it goes a long way to making your produce safer.

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