Why Buy Organic?
At grocery stores across America, more and more people are choosing to buy organic produce. Why? The answer is simple: pesticides. Tests conducted by the US Department of Agriculture showed nearly 70 percent of 48 conventionally grown produce samples to be contaminated with pesticides. Even more frightening is the total of 178 different pesticides found on the thousands of products sampled by the USDA—often present even after the produce was washed.1
Although higher prices may deter you from buying organic, there’s even more frightening information about conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that may change your mind.
Your Choices Matter
A 2015 study found that people who mostly or exclusively buy organic foods had a significantly lower level of pesticides in their urine samples—in spite of the fact that they eat 70 percent more servings of fruits and veggies every day compared to adults who rarely (or never) buy organic.2 And according to several long-term studies, the dangers of pesticides appear to be amplified for children whose brain and nervous system development may be impaired by prolonged exposure.3-5 The fact is, your everyday choices really do make a difference!
The Dirty Dozen
It may seem overwhelming to make the organic switch, but due to the amount of research available on pesticide contamination, it doesn’t have to be. There are 12 specific foods you should always purchase organic whenever possible, a.k.a. the Dirty Dozen:
Sweet Bell Peppers
Because more than 90 percent of samples tested positive for the presence of at least one pesticide, these foods have been singled out for containing the highest amounts of pesticide residue. Look for the USDA sticker whenever you shop for these to help you avoid exposure.
The Clean Fifteen
Buying organic may not always be attainable. Fortunately, there’s also a group of foods called the “Clean Fifteen,” which make the cut for containing a relatively low concentration of pesticide residue:
Frozen Sweet Peas
Some of these foods, when tested, contained no pesticides whatsoever! If you can’t always buy organic, these are the safest kinds of conventional produce—for both your health and your budget.
Take Care of You
Eating organic produce is well worth it when you consider the downside to conventionally grown produce that is, more often than not, completely contaminated with harmful pesticides. By choosing organic when you buy anything off the Dirty Dozen list, you’ll make a small change that can lead to monumental improvements in your health.
For more information and access to both annual lists, visit the Environmental Working Group website.
- Environmental Working Group. EWG’s 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php#.Wle6WZM-eu4. Accessed January 4, 2018.
- Curl CL et al. Estimating Pesticide Exposure from Dietary Intake and Organic Food Choices: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Environ Health Perspect. 2015. Available at ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1408197/.
- Bouchard MF et al. Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and IQ in 7-Year Old Children. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(8):1189-1195. Available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21507776.
- Rauh V et al. 7-Year Neurodevelopmental Scores and Prenatal Exposure to Chlorpyrifos, A Common Agricultural Pesticide. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(8):1196-1201. Available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21507777.
- Engel SM et al. Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphates, Paraoxonase 1, and Cognitive Development in Childhood. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(8):1182-1188. Available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21507778.
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team