EWG's 2018 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

There was a time in our recent past as a country that we could safely go to the grocery store and buy fruits and vegetables for our families with the assurance that those fruits and vegetables were perfectly safe. Unfortunately, with insecticides and pesticides prevalent in our produce, it is hard to know which ones are safe anymore. True, washing the produce you buy at the store helps to rid the fruit or vegetable of the poisons, but some of the poisons stay on even after they are washed. One solution is to buy all your produce completely organic or grow it yourself. Since organic produce can become very pricey and not everyone has the time for a garden, the next best solution comes from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Every year they test thousands of samples of produce in the United States to see which ones have the lower percentage of poisons. The release two lists every year, The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15, so that you can know which fruits and vegetables have a “safe” amount and which fruits and vegetables you need to purchase organic.

The Dirty Dozen

1. Strawberries

Fans of this sweet fruit will be sad to learn that it made the number spot on the Dirty Dozen list for 2018. According to the EWG (www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php), one sample had 22 pesticide residues with one-third of all the samples tested had residue from 10 or more pesticides.

2. Spinach

Of all the samples of spinach tested, 97% of them had pesticides residue with many of them having high concentrations of permethrin, which is a neurotoxic insecticide.

3. Nectarines

Of all the samples of nectarines tested, almost 94% of them had two or more pesticides with one sample containing 15 pesticides residues.

4. Apples

Of all the samples of apples tested, 90% of them had pesticide residues while 80% had a pesticide that is banned in Europe, diphenylamine.

5. Grapes

Of all the samples of grapes tested, 96% of them had pesticide residues with many of them having an average of five pesticide residues.

6. Peaches

Of all the samples of peaches tested, practically all of them (more than 99%) had pesticide residues with an average of four pesticide residues.

7. Cherries

Of all the samples of cherries tested, 30% of them had pesticide that is banned in Europe and known to cause cancer, iprodione. There was also a detectable amount of five pesticide residues.

8. Pears

Of all the samples of pears tested, more than 50% had five or more pesticide residues, and includes high concentrations of insecticides and fungicides.

9. Tomatoes

Of all the samples of tomatoes tested, four pesticide residues were detected in most of them with one sample containing 15 different pesticide residues.

10. Celery

Of all the samples of celery tested, more than 95% of them had pesticide residues with 13 pesticide residues detected on one sample.

11. Potatoes

Of all the samples of potatoes tested, it was found that potatoes had more pesticide residues by weight than any of the other crops tested with the leading pesticide being chlorpropham.

12. Sweet bell peppers

Of all the samples of sweet bell peppers tested, close to 90% of them had pesticide residues. They do contain fewer pesticides than other fruits and vegetables, but the pesticides they do have are more toxic to humans.


Clean 15

1. Avocados

2. Sweet corn

3. Pineapples

4. Cabbage

5. Onions

6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)

7. Papayas

8. Asparagus

9. Mangoes

10. Eggplant

11. Honeydew Melons

12. Kiwi

13. Cantaloupe

14. Cauliflower

15. Broccoli

Be sure to read the full report at www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php.