It’s common knowledge that conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are sprayed with chemical and synthetic pesticides. While it protects the crop from being ruined, these pesticides do not bring much to the table when it comes to our health. Exposure and ingesting pesticides have been linked to causing many diseases such as hormone imbalances, asthma, headaches and inflammation due to the toxic load it adds to your body.




Chemicals present in fruits and vegetables are numerous seeing as there’s a different pesticide to protect a crop from many things. There are pesticides for weeds, fungus, bacteria, microbes, algae, insects etc meaning that a single crop can contain over seven different pesticides on it. These pesticides don’t necessarily get washed away either when prepping them for a meal and they eventually make it to your plate.


When looking at how to remove chemicals from fruits and vegetables, this can be done by soaking them in a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 5 parts water and then doing a final rinse under clean filtered water. Note however than no matter how vigorously you wash your vegetables, the pesticides sprayed onto them don’t just remain on the surface but get absorbed. This is why opting for organic fruits and vegetables is ideal.


Among the many fruits and vegetables out there, below are the ‘dirtiest’ fruits and vegetables as of 2017 according to the Environmental Working Group. The below listed produce contains the highest concentration of pesticides and would be best to choose their organically grown counterparts instead.


2017 Dirty Dozen List and some of the harmful chemicals they contain:


  1. Strawberries: Contain Carbendazim, a hormone-disrupting fungicide that damages the male reproductive system, and Bifenthrin, a possibly carcinogenic insecticide
  2. Spinach: Contains Permethrin, a pesticide with potential risks to children’s brain development
  3. Nectarines: Contain neurotoxins Formetanate hydrochloride and Phosmet, bee toxin Fludioxonil and carcinogenic Iprodione
  4. Apples: Contain Diphenylamine, a chemical that can help produce carcinogenic Nitrosamines
  5. Peaches: Contain pesticide Fludioxonil, carcinogenic Iprodione and neurotoxin Phosmet
  6. Pears: Contains suspected hormone disruptor Pyrimethanil and o-Phenylphenol, a carcinogen, suspected hormone disruptor and developmental and reproductive toxin
  7. Cherries: Contain Boscalid, a possible carcinogen, Bifenthrin and Myclobutanil, both are developmental and reproductive toxins
  8. Grapes: Contain pesticide Imidacloprid, possible carcinogen Boscalid, and Myclobutanil, a developmental and reproductive toxin and a suspected hormone disruptor
  9. Celery: Contains insecticides Chlorantraniliprole and Spinosad, and Acephate, a neurotoxin, suspected hormone disruptor and possible carcinogen
  10. Tomatoes: Contain Edosulfan II, a suspected hormone disruptor
  11. Sweet bell peppers: Contain pesticides Oxamyl oxime and Thiamethoxam
  12. Potatoes: Contains bee toxins Chloropropham and Imidacloprid


Word to the wise: Buy organic everything. Pesticides don’t just make it to fruits and vegetables, but in meat grains and personal care as well. The less exposure you have to toxic chemicals, the healthier you’ll be. Choosing all-natural and organic is a simple step to ensuring this, setting you up for a long-term investment to good health.  

Organic and all-natural fruits and vegetables are available at select Healthy Options stores.


Products You Might Be Interested In  


Bell Pepper 

Bell pepper contains several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.


Grape Tomatoes

Rich in lycopene, grapes tomatoes are like cherry tomatoes that also contain vitamin C, potassium, and phosphorus.



Celery is a rich source of flavonoids which lowers the risk of heart disease, enahnces the immune system, and inhibits the growth of abnormal cancer-causing cells.


Cherry Tomatoes

The vitamin A content in cherry tomatoes make them a good choice to maintain eye health and immune system.


This tasty and vibrantly colored fruit contains all major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene.