Alert! Toxic Chemicals Reported In The 2024 Dirty Dozen List - Save Our Bones

The Environmental Working Group published the results of its yearly survey testing fruits and vegetables for residual pesticides. This year, four of the five most frequently detected chemicals were fungicides.

In this article, we'll review the results of the study, including the twelve most toxin-laden foods, as well as the 15 foods that bore the least pesticide residue. We'll also look at the fungicides found in this year's review and share how you can avoid them.

The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists are excellent tools for reducing toxic and acidifying pesticides in your diet, which helps you maintain good health and strong bones.

Fungicides Found Frequently In Common Foods

Environmental Working Group researchers found that of the five chemicals most frequently detected on non-organic (conventional) fruits and vegetables, four were fungicides.

Fungicides are chemicals applied on fruits and vegetables to prevent or kill fungal diseases. Often, fungicides are applied to foods after they've been harvested to prevent mold growth during transport. Their late application may explain why fungicide levels were frequently higher than the levels of pesticides that are applied while produce is still growing in the field.

The four fungicides found most frequently were fludioxonil, pyraclostrobin, boscalid, and pyrimethanil. Fludioxonil and pyrimethanil are both likely endocrine disruptors that impact hormonal balance and function. More research is needed to fully understand the harm caused by ingesting these chemicals.

Often pesticides garner more attention when considering the potential danger of non-organic produce, but fungicides are also toxic chemicals and should be avoided whenever possible by eating organic foods.

Synopsis

Four of the five chemicals that researchers found most frequently on non-organic fruits and vegetables were fungicides, chemicals used to prevent the growth of molds and mildews on food. These fungicides may disrupt the endocrine system, impacting hormone balance and function.

The Dirty Dozen

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzes data from tests conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration on 47,510 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables.

Their analysis revealed that 75 percent of those 47,510 conventional produce samples had pesticide residue. A shocking 95 percent of the samples of the foods on the Dirty Dozen list were laden with residual chemicals.

The USDA peels or scrubs and washes produce samples before they’re tested. The FDA only removes dirt first. After these standard steps were taken the agencies’ tests still found traces of 254 pesticides across all fruits and vegetables analyzed. More than two hundred of those pesticides were found in the foods listed in this year’s Dirty Dozen.

Here are the 12 fruits and vegetables found to contain the most chemical residue, including pesticides and fungicides.

*Foundation Food

When any of the Dirty Dozen foods are on your shopping list, try to only buy organic varieties. That way, you ensure your food has not been sprayed with toxic chemicals during growing or transport.

However, even with organic produce, it's still important to thoroughly wash before eating, as they may accidentally come into contact with chemicals during shipping.

Synopsis

The Environmental Working group analyzed the results of USDA and FDA tests for pesticides on conventionally grown produce. The Dirty Dozen, listed above, are the 12 items with samples that most often bore residual chemicals– a staggering 95 percent. Only buy organic varieties of the foods in the Dirty Dozen list to avoid acidifying toxic chemical residue.

The Clean Fifteen

In addition to publishing the 12 dirtiest non-organic fruits and vegetables, the EWG compiles a list of the 15 conventionally grown foods that had the lowest levels of pesticides.

This list serves as a useful guide for times when organic foods are not available. If you must buy conventionally grown produce, these items are the least likely to expose you to toxic chemical residue. Please note that you should avoid non-organic corn regardless, since it is GMO (genetically modified).

*Foundation Food

Many of these fruits and vegetables have husks or skins that are removed before eating, protecting the edible parts of the plant from direct exposure to pesticides.

Synopsis

The Clean Fifteen list consists of the produce items found to bear the least pesticides in the EWG's analysis. If you have to buy non-organic produce, choose items from this list to reduce your exposure to toxic pesticides.

What This Means To You

By avoiding toxic chemicals you protect yourself from bone-damaging acidification and free up your body's resources to maintain good health and strong bones. Use the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists at the grocery store to make informed dietary choices.

Unfortunately, it's impossible to avoid every chemical and toxin in modern life. The Save Institute developed the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse so you can give your bones and body a rejuvenating reset. It's the perfect way to flush toxins while providing optimal support for your bone health.

Healthy choices can feel good, just like healthy foods can be delicious. When you chart an enjoyable path to optimal wellness you set yourself up for success.

References

1 https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/2024/03/ewgs-2024-shoppers-guide-pesticides-producetm-dirty-dozentm

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13 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Christine Peake

    You are obviously writing about US foods here. How do I find out how this applies in the UK!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Christine, there is an organization in the UK called The Pesticide Action Network UK. They publish a yearly Dirty Dozen list. You can check their information here:
      https://www.pan-uk.org/dirty-dozen/

  2. Karen

    Where do bananas fall?

  3. Luc

    I wish there was a way to clean out pesticides from kale. Here in Canada Quebec, organic kales is often withered and old in organic food groceries whereas non organic kale is nice and fresh.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Luc, according to a study published in 9-2022 in the Foods journal titled “Effectiveness of Different Washing Strategies on Pesticide Residue Removal: The First Comparative Study on Leafy Vegetables”, washing is the most effective treatment for leafy vegetables such as kale. On average, removal using running water and boiling led to the highest reduction of pesticides, while using detergent led to the lowest reduction of pesticides.

  4. Nan Jolly

    Was this study done in the USA? With fruits and vegetables grown in the USA?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      The EWG used domestically grown foods as well as imported foods, Nan.

  5. Karen Ruppel

    Although I do support buying organic whenever possible, and they do contain less pesticides, certain pesticides are allowed and used by organic farmers. Your article states “try to only buy organic varieties. That way, you ensure your food has not been sprayed with toxic chemicals during growing or transport.” Your advice to wash organic produce thoroughly is accurate, but buying organic does not ensure your food has not been sprayed. Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Karen, most of the time, pesticides derived from natural sources (for example biological pesticides) are used to treat organically grown foods. So you’re right, organic foods get sprayed but with less toxic chemicals.

      • Adriane

        I don’t consider biological pesticides like Bt toxin (Bacillus thuringensis) to be less toxic. Bt toxin rips up the guts of the bugs that eat it. I’m sure it also damages our human gut lining. Cabbage is notorious for Bt use.
        That’s why they genetically modified corn to produce Bt toxin so it’s in the corn and can’t be washed off.

  6. Erin

    Is there a product or way to clean the dirty 12 fruits and veggies to remove or lessen the chemicals.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Good question, Erin. First of all, let’s remember that the EWG tests produce after they are washed and peeled. There are a few studies that show some success in the reduction of chemicals, but they vary depending on the food. For example, soaking apples in baking soda showed some pesticide reduction as well as washing leafy greens with running water. Also, let’s keep in mind that many pesticides enter the flesh of the fruit or vegetable, so the washing/cleaning method would not make a big difference (if at all).

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