By: Melanie Forti, Programs Director

Love is an important sentiment in our lives. Loving ourselves is an important component to having a fulfilled and more peaceful life. A way of showing love to yourself is making good decisions when it comes to the source of your food, and at the same time, caring for the environment. However, sometimes we just don’t have control of the environment we are surrounded by.

While food brings family and friends together it is important to know that even if you don’t see it, the products you buy are more likely to have pesticide residues. Produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture contained nearly two-thirds pesticide residues, even after being washed and peeled. According to the Pesticide Data Program a sample of strawberries was found to be contained with residues of 20 different pesticides.  It also revealed that only 15 percent of the 10,187 samples tested were free from any detectable pesticide residues


It’s very easy to come in contact with pesticides when, often, pesticides can go undetected by shoppers in the supermarket. You can be exposed to pesticides through environmental exposure, occupational exposure, residential/ commercial, or by bringing home pesticides from work or stores. Synthetic pesticides are found in farms, in the environment (air, water, soil, etc.), and around your home. Besides being harmful to the environment, pesticides can be very dangerous to one’s health. Countless studies have linked pesticides to cancer, Alzheimer ’s disease, ADHD, birth defects, and much more.  Constant exposure to pesticides can lead to potential harm to the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the endocrine system.

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So, what should you do? 

  • Verify if your local grocery store sale certified organic products and the source of the produce.
  • Wash thoroughly each and every produce you buy. Try scrubbing firmer products.
  • Try eating a variety of produce to minimize the potential of increased exposure to a single pesticide
  • Grow your own produce.
  • Get your FREE EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce here:


Although it’s suggested to purchasing products certified 100% organic, there are some products that have fewer amounts of pesticide residues and can be purchased at any local grocery store.  See table below:


It is very important that you rinse well these products before consuming.

  • Avocados
  • Asparagus
  • Mangos
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Onions
  • Honeydew melon
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) shares in their website Key Findings about the Clean 15, these are the following:

  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1% of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • 89% of pineapples, 81% of papayas, 78% of mangoes, 73% of kiwi and 62% of cantaloupes had little to no residues



You definitely want to buy these products as certified organic, or certified naturally grown… and yes, give them a good wash before consuming.

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • The Dirty Dozen Plus™ include: Leafy greens and hot peppers

EWG Dirty Dozen Key Findings are the following:

  • More than 98%of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.


If you would like to see EWG ranking list of worst to best 50 products please click here.

At the end of the day, no matter whether our country’s food system is not the best, you are responsible for what you consume and how it will affect your life.   Taking the proper precautions by avoiding eating products with pesticides residues will help you and your family members have a longer and healthier life.  Start making changes in your routine, and love your life free of pesticides.