The Dirty Dozen: 12 Fruits and Vegetables that Rank Highest for Pesticides

Scrub your celery. Apples and peaches too.

But even a good scrubbing might not eliminate all pesticide residue because some pesticide chemicals work their way into the soil where they’re taken in by plant roots.

Of course, this is a good reason to purchase organically grown foods. With organics, your chance of consuming pesticide residue drops significantly.

But whether or not you go organic, it’s still a good idea to thoroughly wash plant foods before eating. Especially foods on this “Dirty Dozen” list. According to the Environmental Working Group, these are the 12 fruits and vegetables that consistently rank highest in pesticide residues:

  • 1. Peaches
  • 2. Apples
  • 3. Sweet bell peppers
  • 4. Celery
  • 5. Nectarines
  • 6. Strawberries
  • 7. Cherries
  • 8. Kale
  • 9. Lettuce
  • 10. Grapes (imported)
  • 11. Carrots
  • 12. Pears

And now for the good news: According to EWG, onions, avocados, asparagus, watermelon, broccoli, and tomatoes are among the foods least likely to carry pesticide residue.

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About the author


Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.

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