Are you getting your daily dose of pesticides?

Published 8:48 am Thursday, June 3, 2010

Most doctors and nutritionists recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

But while it’s important to watch what you eat; it’s as equally as important to know what is in what you’re eating.

Each year the Environmental Working Group releases their list of the “Dirty Dozen.” The list put out by the non-profit names the 12 fruits and vegetables have the highest amounts of chemical residue from pesticides.

The produce showcased on the “Dirty Dozen” list contains 47 to 67 pesticides per serving and tend to be more susceptible because of their softer skins that absorb more pesticides.

Those listed in the “Dirty Dozen” category are:





Domestic blueberries


Sweet bell peppers

Spinach, kale and collard greens



Imported grapes


The Environmental Protection Agency along with the FDA and the USDA mutually monitor and set limits as to how much pesticide can be used on farms and how much can remain on the produce once it’s in the grocery stores.

The President’s Cancer Panel recently recommended that consumers eat produce without pesticides to reduce their risk of getting cancer and other diseases. However, according to CNN, the low levels of pesticides found on the “Dirty Dozen” are government-approved amounts.

Most people believe if you give a produce a good wash, the pesticides will go away. However, those chemicals applied into the ground and into the root system of the vegetable or fruit can make its way into the produce.

While the produce listed above are dubbed the “Dirty Dozen” it doesn’t mean you should cut them out of your diet by no means, but rather turn to organic produce.

But not every fruit and veggie is pesticide ridden.

Each year when the Environmental Working Group releases the “Dirty Dozen” it also releases the “Clean 15,” a list which features the produce with little to no pesticides.

The “Clean 15” features the following fruits and vegetables:



Sweet corn



Sweet peas


Kiwi fruit






Sweet potatoes

Sweet onions

While organic produce is not the cheapest food items out there, experts say you should buy organic as much as you can. Studies have shown that eating organic can reduce the amount of pesticides in your body by 95 percent in two weeks.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.