Pesticides In Produce - A Shoppers Guide

Environmental Working Group’s

Buy These Organic!

1 Peaches
2 Apples
3 Sweet Bell Peppers
4 Celery
5 Nectarines
6 Strawberries
7 Cherries
8 Lettuce
9 Grapes (Imported)
10 Pears
11 Spinach
12 Potatoes

Lowest in Pesticides

1 Onions
2 Avocado
3 Sweet Corn (Frozen)
4 Pineapples
5 Mango
6 Sweet Peas (Frozen)
7 Asparagus
8 Kiwi
9 Bananas
10 Cabbage
11 Broccoli
12 Eggplant

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Why Should You Care About Pesticides?

There is growing consensus in the scientific community that small
doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people,
especially during vulnerable periods of fetal development and childhood
when exposures can have long lasting effects. Because the toxic
effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood, or in some
cases completely unstudied, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to
pesticides whenever possible.

What’s the Difference?

An EWG simulation of thousands of consumers eating high and low
pesticide diets shows that people can lower their pesticide exposure
by almost 90 percent by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated
fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead. Eating
the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to
about 14 pesticides per day, on average. Eating the 12 least contaminated
will expose a person to less than 2 pesticides per day. Less dramatic
comparisons will produce less dramatic reductions, but without doubt
using the Guide provides people with a way to make choices that lower
pesticide exposure in the diet.

Will Washing and Peeling Help?

Nearly all of the data used to create these lists already considers how
people typically wash and prepare produce (for example, apples are
washed before testing, bananas are peeled). While washing and rinsing
fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate
them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often
go down the drain with the peel. The best option is to eat a varied diet,
wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure
to potentially harmful chemicals.

How Was This Guide Developed?

The produce ranking was developed by analysts at the not-for-profit
Environmental Working Group (EWG) based on the results of nearly
51,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between
2000 and 2005. A detailed description of the criteria used in developing
the rankings as well as a full list of fresh fruits and vegetables that have
been tested is available at

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