by Heidi Green
December 21, 2011
There’s a fair amount of controversy about the benefits of choosing organically grown fruits and vegetables over conventionally grown produce. But many parents are concluding, as biologist Sandra Steingraber explains in The Organic Manifesto of a Biologist Mother, “pesticide is poison.”
However, eating organic foods can be significantly more expensive than eating conventional ones. So, if you wish to purchase organic foods but need to stick to a budget, start by selecting organic only for those fruits and vegetables with the highest level of pesticides. The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, compiled annually by the Environmental Working Group (EWG)—a health and environment watchdog group—provides consumers with the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 lists. In 2012, a new “Plus” category was added to expand the Dirty Dozen list to include crops that do not meet the Dirty Dozen criteria but are still commonly contaminated with toxic pesticides. So far, two vegetables have earned a spot on that list.
These are the fruits and vegetables that consistently test higher in pesticides, and they are typically ones that consumers eat whole—skin and all—without peeling. EWG recommends buying only organic:
These fruits and vegetables consistently test as being lowest in pesticides. You don’t need to be as worried about choosing conventional when you buy these fruits and vegetables:
For more information on pesticides, read baby gooroo’s “A Primer On Pesticides.”
Last reviewed on July 5, 2012
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