Apple Tops the "˜Dirty Dozen' List

Health Professional

This update isn't directly related to heart health, but I wanted to share from the perspective of 'clean living' and the goal of promoting optimal health.

The dirty dozen is a list of product with the highest pesticide residues developed by the Environmental Working Group.

The 12 most contaminated types of produce are:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

According to the 2011 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, apples are the most pesticide-laden fruit. The US Department of Agriculture tested 700 apple samples and over 98% of the apples contained pesticide.

This is the seventh guide released by the nonprofit organization which analyzes the pesticide content of 53 different types of produce and then provides a list of the 12 highest in pesticides and the 15 lowest.

As an FYI, most of the produce was washed and cleaned prior to sampling to ensure the chemical level was closest to the level present when it's most typically consumed.

The 15 LEAST contaminated types of product are (aka the Clean 15):

  • Onions
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe - domestic
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Mushrooms

The research analysis found apples to be followed by celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, domestic blueberries, lettuce and kale/collard greens in regards to pesticide content.

How to Use This Information

The 'dirty dozen' provides a list of the produce most impacted by pesticide. While you may not be able to purchase all organic produce, you may be able to select the organic form of these top 12 to reduce the pesticide content of your diet.

The Environmental Working Group provides a useful comparison. If you select five servings of fruits and vegetables from the dirty dozen list you'd consume approximately 14 different pesticides daily versus five servings from the 'Clean 15' fruit and vegetable list you'd reduce your pesticide intake to fewer than two per day.

Dangers of Pesticide Consumption

While consuming pesticides may have a negative impact on the health of everyone, it can be especially harmful for children. Science is showing that pesticide consumption can cause long term harm to a child's brain development.

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away . . . and Lowers Cholesterol

There are health benefits to apples, so I don't want you to cut them out of your diet. Just be aware of the increased potential for pesticides and select organic versions.

Be sure to sign up for the free ecourse How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps at