The Dirty Dozen (Plus Clean Fifteen) Infographic

When it comes to buying produce, I often shy away from organic because these are expensive (it costs twice as much).

And add a lot to my credit card bill every month.

But after reading the article about the dirty dozen from the Huffington post and Health Trekker, it somehow changed my views because of the risks pesticides causes to our health.

So I did some research and came up with this infographic to guide you when to go organic or conventional. Also I have bonus tips at the end of the infographic on where you can buy affordable organic produce in your area and much more, so make sure to scroll all the way down.

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Why pesticides are bad?

There’s a lot of debate about the negative effects of pesticide. Critics say that pesticides has minimal effect on humans and shouldn’t be taken seriously. But as I dug deeper in my research, I found some eye opening info.

People who are at the highest risk would be children and expectant moms.

Billion pounds of pesticide!

In the United States alone, Farmers use over a billion pounds of pesticide annually. And most have one common ingredient – organophosphates.

According to Dr. Mercola, exposure to this pesticide has been linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Even with minimal exposure, it’s dangerous because it all adds up.

Direct exposure to organophosphates has a terrible effect on pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Want proof?

In a CHAMACOS study done, they followed pregnant women who live in Salinas Valley.

A large agricultural land where half a million pounds of organophosphates sprayed every year.

They found out that women experienced shorter pregnancies and their children suffered poor neonatal reflexes, lower IQ, shorter attention spans and poor cognitive function.

Pesticide is a known carcinogenic and exposure over the long haul can lead to diseases like cancer.

Have you ever though why more people than ever in history have cancer?

One big reason would be pesticides. There’s pesticide exposure everywhere. From the ground up, there will be pesticide exposure.

So we have to do our due diligence and limit our exposure in the areas we can control like food. The less exposure to pesticide, the better our chances of avoiding diseases like cancer.

The dirty dozen list helps us by ranking the foods with the most and least amount of pesticide residue on it.

This serves as a guide for us shoppers on which foods to buy organic and which ones we can get away with buying conventional.

If you think buying organic is expensive, I’ve listed 5 tips on the infographic that’ll help you find affordable organic produce.

By the way, if you’re looking for more tips head over to Foodbabe’s site where she has a monster list of 75 ways on how to go organic on a budget.

Another great resource on money saving shopping tips is Bankrate where they list down 17 tips on buying organic on the cheap.

If you’re into eating raw foods or juicing, you’d have to be more careful because pesticides with go into your system at full strength in the absence of heat from cooking.

As always, right produce selection is paramount and don’t forget wash it well even if it’s organic.

Spreading the word!

Before I go, please spread the word about the Dirty Dozen.

I a lot of people don’t know about the danger of pesticides. And they ought to get educate themselves about it.

If you can share this with your co-workers, family and friends I’d you’ll be doing them a big favor.

For more information about this, check out these sources:

28 thoughts on “The Dirty Dozen (Plus Clean Fifteen) Infographic”

  1. Hi Garrick!

    This is an awesome infographic. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been working on a similar graphic but I didn’t include that much info. Kudos. I think people should always buy organic produce. Yes, it is more expensive but I believe the benefits outweigh the cost. I know the science is not conclusive whether or not organic is more healthy but at least you can lower the exposure to pesticides which is always good.


    1. Thanks for dropping by Mauricio, yes while it is true that there is no scientific evidence that pesticide content found in produce is harmful to people I’d still try to minimize pesticide exposure as much as possible, I mean would you eat or drink something when you know there is a drop of poisonous chemicals in there?

  2. Hi G,
    This is a great infographic! I refer to the EWG Dirty Dozen list daily as I decide what I must buy organic and what I conventional foods I can buy when I can’t find organic versions. This is such a handy reference so thank you for sharing it.

  3. Great job on the infographic & thanks for the link-back, Garrick!

    It adds so much to the discussion, I did a post with it over at my blog.

    I particularly like how you highlighted the “Dangerous 3”. Kale, Collards & Chlis were not something I remarked that well the first time I saw the list.

    -Btw, potatoes are also looking a little bit of a sketchy-proposition, too eh?

    Best Regards!

  4. Hey Garrick

    Excellent pieces of info in your blog – thanks for sending me the link!

    Very interesting the graphical presentation of the different vegetables – one does not often see such a clear cut break down like this…

    Blessings my friend…


  5. I don’t really understand the concept of “clean and dirty” produce. Pesticides permeate the environment (soil, water, air) for us all, no matter what plants they are used on, and we, as consumers, should be avoiding/boycotting them period, so the farming industry will eventually get the message. We need to stop thinking individually and start thinking globally, or we’re all going to feel the effects individually anyway.

  6. great info graphic!
    I just wanted to add that although corn and papaya may test clean on the outside, they are GMO unless organic, which means they have pesticides in their DNA, which can wreak havoc on your gut bacteria.

  7. Good points and love the infographic! I’ve been eating organic for most of my life, so when folks comment on the higher cost, i explain to them that they end up paying anyway – in the form of high health costs, which may be due to pesticide/environmental-related illnesses (poor quality food = poor nutrition = poor assimilation = poor health). And the taste of conventional produce – is, well, just plain yucky, compared to foods grown without chemicals. Eating organically supports natural farming methods that maintain healthy soil, the basic component of any diet. So the “trickle-down effect” is why I choose organic over conventional; it’s to the benefit of all life on this planet.

  8. If I do have to buy non-organic produce, I soak it in water with 1 cup of vinegar, which gets rid of most of the pesticide residues.

    Also, if you notice, a lot of the clean 15 have thick outer skins, which helps keep pesticides out. Lemons and limes are pretty safe too.

  9. This is a great graphic and there’s lots of important info here. But when you get right down to it, there are no safe fruits or vegetables that are not organic, unless you know and trust the person who grew them.

    The report at EWG doesn’t say how the produce was tested. If it only looked to detect pesticides (it doesn’t even mention herbicides!) on the outside of each fruit or vegetable, it missed the boat.

    A lot of people say “Oh you don’t need to worry about cantaloupe because you don’t eat the outside. The problem is, when they spray conventionally grown fields, it is done in a mass production way, either by large vehicles with spray arms that reach out 20 feet on each side, or by airplane. Every inch of the soil is doused. Those chemicals, even if they are not sprayed directly on the item because it grows underground, mix with the irrigation water and get absorbed into the product through it’s roots.

    As the above charts point out, a portion of some produce tested had no residue at all. But again, was only the outside tested? And do you want to play supermarket roulette and *hope* you get one of the 69% cantaloupes?

    To me, there is no safe, non organic produce.

  10. Except for cherry tomatoes, I don’t see them listed. I’ve heard that most tomatoes are problematic unless organic, but don’t recall the reasoning. Can you help?

  11. Undoubtedly, organic foods are better and healthier than their conventional counterparts. I’d like to know what “scientific evidence” you are referring to as Dr. Mercola’s website contains plenty of evidence as to how harmful pesticides and herbicides’ cumulative effects have. Same with series of documentaries on cancer.
    I eat 100% organic because at the end of the day, the cost of eating cheaper foods can be very expensive.

  12. thanks for this. i’ve seen other lists like this in the past but not as comprehensive. and thanks for the basic education for those who are beginning to explore. clear, concise and helpful.
    i became food conscious in my early 20’s and have been growing and purchasing organically for about 45 yrs. rachael carson turned my head around when i was a kid.
    obviously organic is important, not only for what we put into our own bodies, but for the planet and all its plant and animal inhabitants and waters. it’s a huge part of why i eat organic food. it’s one of my small contributions to the health of the planet.
    peace, randy

  13. The year should be clearly marked on this, considering has a new list each year. This is 2014’s list – anyone know how long before 2015’s is available?

  14. Hi Garrick,
    Thank you for this helpful information. Now I will start reading the digits.
    I have a question. If a produce has the label “100 % organic”,
    does that also mean it is GMO free or could it be modified?
    Thanks for the info. Thess

    1. Hi Thess,

      Even if produce has the organic label on it, doesn’t mean it’s 100% organic. Try to look for the label “GMO-free” in there just to make sure it does not have any GMO ingredients.

  15. this is great, but it should be noted that conventional sweet corn might be pesticide in the DNA, GMO and therefore shouldn’t be in the clean fifteen without a disclaimer.

  16. Thank you so my h for taking the time to do this. This is a beautiful infographic. I wish I could pit it in my pocket and carry it around.

    I plan my garden according to the dirty dozen list and grow the foods on the list that I eat most often myself. All others, I buy organic.

    I believe EWG makes a new list every year at the start of the growing season, based on foods tested from the previous season so be sure to get you updated version to be published soon.

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