Dirty Dozen – Foods That May Be Harming You

by Polly N on September 3, 2010

It’s fairly simple. If you want to be healthier – you eat more fruit and veg right? Right. The only drawback being that a lot of the fruit and veg these days is sprayed with harmful chemicals which make their way into our body and toxify us from the inside out. The growing consensus of scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood.

One would think that the government would make laws against using poison on food and in products but unfortunately it consists of pompous, money-dwindling,  imbecilic morons who live anywhere but the real world. But enough about what I really think, back to the facts..

A list has been compiled by Environmental Working Group (EWG) of the worst offenders and the not so bad offenders…








Bell Peppers





Grapes (imported)

CLEAN 15 – Lowest in Pesticides



Sweet Corn



Sweet Peas








Sweet Potato

Honeydew Melon

Research has found that people eating five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day! (That’s not including the lead from their lipstick or mercury in their mascara..I know I know..it’s neverending!) Those who eat from the Clean 15 list, the least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables, ingest less than 2 pesticides a day. (Although let’s not kid ourselves that these are actually clean – they just contain a little less posion.)

Let’s talk about the apple for a moment. Most people like apples. Most people grab an apple on their lunch break, carry one in their bag as an alternative to reaching for that chocolate bar or for moments of hunger when everything else takes too long to make! They might even have an apple a day as one of their “five a day” which of course it is. But I wonder how many pesticides are ingested on eating this apple and wonder if it negates its beneficial qualities? I’m not trying to freak you out or make you worry every time you eat something non-organic – I’m just giving you the facts because you deserve to know the truth. It’s up to you what you do with it!

To wash or to peel – that is the question

The data used to compile the above lists is based on produce tested as it is typically eaten. Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides whereas peeling helps, but of course removes a lot of the valuable nutrients found in the skins of most fruits and vegetables. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

My advice would be to buy organic where possible. I’m sure a lot of you are thinking, “yeah that’s easy for you to say but it’s expensive.” And I would have to agree with you for the most part so do what’s manageable for you, and maybe just concentrate on buying organic for the foods taking pride of place on the Dirty Dozen list.

The reality is that our health isn’t really something that should come down to cost but unfortunately, it often does. I would encourage you to grow sprouts on your windowsills (for you London city-dwellers) or ye country folke can grow vegetables in your garden. Just a teaspoon of seeds yields 2 pounds of sprouts so there really is no excuse wherever you live and whatever you do!

It might be interesting (read scary) to keep a journal for a week to see what you eat, what cosmetics you use and then count up the number of chemicals you are subjecting yourself to…Go on..I dare you!!!


More info on Sprouting coming to a computer screen near you soon…


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jo Fairman September 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Hi Polly, I looked at this too, and given that the EWG is an American organisation I was wondering if these lists refer only to US produced fruit and veg. Would a UK (or a French) dirty dozen list look the same, as presumably we have different bugs and different pesticide ‘needs’? Clearly, some of it is common sense, ie soft fruits would have more that fruits with thick skins, but the veg section doesn’t seems so straight forward. What do you think?


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