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Pesticides are an environmental hazard. Most people don’t think twice about spraying these toxins on their yard to keep the bugs away. Every spring, the flag on every lawn is typical of a “well-kept” property. But how are these chemicals affecting our community’s health?


Using pesticides is known for being challenged by Rachel Carson. The National Resource Defense Council explains how her book Silent Spring exposes how DDT “entered the food chain and accumulated in the fatty tissues of animals, including human beings, and caused cancer and genetic damage.” Her work led to the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal environmental agency for the United States.

Today, we still fight for education around pesticides’ impact on agriculture. Although Carson’s work led to the ban of DDT, the United States is still uncovering pesticides’ harmful effects every day. Most recently, in 2021, the Biden administration banned chlorpyrifos due to its links to neurological damage in children. Environmental organizations are working against these harmful pollutants.

Identifying which foods are best for your health isn’t as easy as eating fruits and vegetables these days. The Environmental Working Group has taken a massive step for families and consumers to make healthier decisions about food and pesticides.

Environmental Working Group

The Environmental Working Group is a team of scientists, policy experts, lawyers, communications, and data experts that work to reform our nation’s broken chemical safety and agricultural laws. The Environmental Working Group reports are based on the USDA and FDA research. The EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce is an annual report that examines fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residue. 

Since 2004, they have guided families on safer foods to eat. The article follows research that links the amounts of pesticides in adults’ urine and infertility rates. The latest research reveals chemical residue from pesticides banned in the European Union but allowed in the U.S.

Here are the 2022 results:

EWG’s Clean 15 for 2022

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet potatoes

EWG’s Dirty Dozen for 2022

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard, and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell and hot peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

Following the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen can help us steer clear of pesticides in and around our bodies. Also, there are harmful impacts on agriculture workers that suffer from pesticide poison and the disruption of soil microbial life. The documentary Kiss the Ground on Netflix gives excellent insight into the state of the agriculture industry today.  

When you choose organic foods, you pay more for the food not to be sprayed with synthetic chemicals. Although buying organics isn’t always accessible, these scientifically proven lists can help you pick what’s best for your family.

These Environmental Working Group’s selections can help you (and help the planet) by selecting the Clean 15 for your everyday diet.

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