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Essentials: Dirty Dozen

Many fruits and vegetables often contain pesticides. To avoid this, it is advised to consume organic foods and to stay away from the Dirty Dozen foods

While eating fruits and vegetables is good for our health, many of them contain harmful pesticides. Certain pesticides are linked to skin, eye and lung irritation, nervous system toxicity, hormonal disruption and even cancer. For pregnant women, the more they are exposed to these toxins the more likely their children will develop cognitive problems.

Are you consuming pesticides? Likely. A study done in 2009 by the CDC found that over 96% of adults had pesticides in their system and 60% had ingested them that same day. One way to avoid pesticides is to focus on organic foods. The USDA uses the term organic to designate food not genetically engineered or sprayed with fertilizers.

The Environment Working Group ( has ranked the 12 fruits and veggies most likely to be contaminated (Dirty Dozen) and the 15 least likely to be contaminated (Clean Fifteen). Eating fruits and vegetables is important, but try to focus on ones without all the pesticides.


Lynn Goldstein, MS, RD, CSO, CDN

This video features Lynn Goldstein, MS, RD, CSO, CDN. Lynn Goldstein is a registered dietitian with a masters of science degree from New York University. She is board certified in oncology nutrition and is the clinical nutrition supervisor for Beth Israel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Duration: 4:10. Last Updated On: Nov. 8, 2017, 6:14 p.m.
Reviewed by: Suzanne Friedman, MD, Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: July 8, 2015
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