Top 12 Fruits And Vegetables Most Sprayed With Bone-Harming Dangerous Pesticides - Save Our Bones

Pesticide residue on conventional produce is a very real health hazard, adding to your body’s toxic load and undermining your bone-building efforts. However, some foods are more heavily sprayed with pesticides than others.

The good news is that every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts together its Dirty Dozen list, which is a list of the top 12 most heavily-sprayed produce.

They’ve recently come out with an updated list, and today we’re going to take a close look at these “dirty” fruits and veggies, starting with a discussion on why eating them organically grown instead of conventional is important for your bones and your health.

Why Eating Organic Foods Matters

Organic foods are not merely a trend or fad. As knowledge about the realities of pesticide use has grown, consumer demand for toxin-free produce has risen to an unprecedented degree, as has the demand for allergen-free and non-GMO foods.

Consumers are now much more aware of the toll these pesticides take on human health. This fact is well documented, as is the fact that pesticide residue remains on crops that have been sprayed.

In fact, even peeling produce does not help – the USDA tests for pesticide residue in the edible portion of foods, so foods with inedible peel, such as avocados, bananas, and others are tested after the peel has been removed, and in most cases, pesticide residues are still found.

On foods with edible skins, the testing is done after rinsing under running water, which underscores the point that pesticides are impossible to wash away completely. Not only can they penetrate the skins of foods, but the waxes used to prevent moisture loss during transport can trap pesticides in a waxy coating that can’t be washed off. And finally, the plants can take up the pesticides via their roots, thus infiltrating the fruit or vegetable.

Hundreds of pounds of pesticides are used for every acre of conventionally-grown produce. And these substances have been linked to serious health issues such as ADHD in children, breast cancer, depression, prostate and ovarian cancer, birth defects, and Alzheimer’s disease – to name a few.

This is of particular concern for parents of young children, whose smaller body size renders them more vulnerable to harm from pesticide ingestion. Research strongly suggests that pesticide ingestion is linked to ADHD and impaired intelligence,1 with further research pointing out that pesticide levels peak in children’s bodies during the summer months when fruits and vegetables are plentiful.2

To investigate this further, scientists tested pesticide levels in a group of 23 elementary children who had eaten conventional produce. The levels were monitored as the children switched to an all-organic diet, leading researchers to state:

“In conclusion, we were able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agricultural production.”2

Amazingly, the children’s bodies were nearly free of all pesticides after just five days on the all-organic diet.
If this is true for children, then it stands to reason that adults would also detoxify from pesticides upon eating an organic diet, and from choosing organically-grown versions of heavily-sprayed produce.

The Official Dirty Dozen

I understand that it’s not easy to buy every food organically grown, but we must keep in mind that accumulated toxins make it harder to maintain a desirable alkaline pH.

What makes this list so helpful is that if due to availability or other reasons you must choose between organic and conventional produce, you’ll have a handy reference to aid you in deciding which ones to buy organic and a concise resource of their bone health benefits. So let’s begin with…

1. Strawberries*

This delicious berry has now replaced apples’ five-year run as the most heavily sprayed crop. A whopping 300 pounds of pesticides per acre are applied to strawberries in California fields, artificially jump-starting and prolonging the growing season and increasing yield.

This is crucial in light of the fact that strawberries are anti-inflammatory and rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, earning them a place in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program’s Foundation Foods. Research also shows that these remarkable berries have many other health benefits, including pain relief and even reduced risk of esophageal cancer. So to keep from undermining the health benefits of strawberries and to take full advantage of all they have to offer, it’s particularly important to choose organic.

2. Apples*

Once at the top of the list, apples have dropped to the second position in 2016 (but of course, they are still heavily sprayed with pesticides). Apples contain a flavonoid called phloridzin, which has been shown to increase bone density and decrease inflammation. They’re rich in Vitamin C, fiber, and boron, and a lot of their goodness is found in the peel. So organic is essential!

3. Nectarines

These peach-like fruits are indeed related to peaches and apricots, and have many of the same health benefits. They are alkalizing and full of Vitamin C and fiber. They are also high in potassium, making them an important buffer to the high-sodium diet so prevalent in the U.S.

4. Peaches*

Peaches are also alkalizing, and are a good source of bone-building boron. Also, their juiciness helps boost hydration.

5. Celery*

This crunchy vegetable is extremely alkalizing, and it contains bone-healthy Vitamin K, folate, Vitamins B2 and B5, manganese, boron, and magnesium.

6. Grapes*

This richly-pigmented fruit is full of bone-smart polyphenols and anti-inflammatory substances like quercetin and courmarin. Grapes even have pain-relieving properties. But they have moved up from #7 to #6 on the Dirty Dozen list this year.

7. Cherries*

Sadly, cherries were not on the Dirty Dozen list in years past, but they made it this year. Cherries are a good source of bone-building silicon in addition to other vitamins and minerals that build bones, like manganese and copper. They are rich in antioxidant polyphenols, particularly anthocyanins and superoxide dismutase. Cherries even contain melatonin, helping regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.

8. Spinach*

With manganese, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin K, spinach has much to offer your bones. Being a dark green, leafy vegetable, spinach is full of antioxidants, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. These are especially helpful for eye health.

9. Tomatoes*

Botanically a fruit, tomatoes are good sources of bone-rejuvenating nutrients like copper, Vitamin C, and silicon. They are full of lycopene, an antioxidant that’s also found in watermelon and pink grapefruit. Interestingly, research shows that cooking tomatoes makes lycopene more bioavailable by converting it to trans-lycopene.

10. Sweet Bell Peppers*

Offering Vitamin C, silicon, and Vitamin K, bell peppers are a sweet and crispy vegetable that is a member of the nightshade family, like tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes.

11. Cherry Tomatoes* (see #9 above)

12. Cucumbers*

Cucumbers are rich in silicon, and are very hydrating as well as alkalizing. Silicon facilitates calcium uptake and plays a role in collagen formation.

*Foundation Food

Given how many of these foods are Foundation Foods, you can understand why the Osteoporosis Reversal Program advocates eating organic! In addition, almost all of the EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” (foods with little pesticide residue even when conventionally grown) are Foundation Foods: avocados, corn, pineapples, cabbage, sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, honeydew, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and cauliflower.

A Periodic Cleanse Removes Pesticides From Your Body And Protects Your Bones

Remember the study on school children mentioned above? When they ate organically-grown produce, their pesticide levels were reduced to almost nothing in just five days.

The sad yet inescapable truth is that our world is full of chemicals and toxins that compromise our body’s ability to grow healthy bones. And if you’re looking to get maximum benefit from your bone-building efforts, you must flush out the dangerous chemicals and toxins that are standing in your way.

With the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse, it takes just seven days to invigorate your liver and kidneys, so you’ll build your bones faster and more efficiently.

Accelerated Bone Remodeling In Just 7 Days!

Discover how the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse can flush osteoporosis drugs and other bone-damaging toxins from your system – in just seven days.

Learn More Now →

The entire cleanse is broken down into 6 easy steps that you follow for seven days. Step 2 of the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse features cleansing, detoxifying fruits and vegetables like apples, cherries, celery, cucumbers, and grapes… these are foods found on the Dirty Dozen list, so getting them organically grown makes a whole lot of sense.

Enjoy a pesticide-free, bone-healthy summer!


1 Bouchard, Maryse F., et al. “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Prganophosphate Pesticides.” Pediatrics. (2010). Doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-3058. Web. May 22, 2016.
2 Chencheng, Lu, et al. “Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorous Pesticides.” Environmental Health Perspectives. 111.2. (2006): 260-263. Web. May 22, 2016.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Rita Wood

    I took a weekly Actonel tablet for seven years until I was advised to stop for extensive dental work to be carried out by a hospital dental specialist. Because of taking the Actonel usual dentist was no longer allowed to treat me! ( risk of infection and necrosis of the jaw) The dental specialist advised me of recent research and said he would not take any more of the residronate class of drugs.Having not taken the drugs since October 2012 would you think there is any hope of getting my bone building system back to normal?(Following saveourbones) Thanks!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Rita,

      That’s exactly what the Program is designed to do! Eventually, the drug will leave your system and normal bone remodeling can occur. The timing differs for everyone, but the key is to start the process of consuming bone-nourishing foods and cleansing your body of the drugs. 🙂

  2. Chupacabra

    With EWG’s shopping tool, people can have the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with less exposure to pesticides.

  3. Rose E. Kurtzcchsrek

    Is red yeast rice ok to take, side effects scare me, need it for cholesterrol

  4. PB

    Please tell me if local food has less pesticides than imports and california produce?

  5. Erlinda Siaton

    noted thank you much0 God bless.

  6. Cheryl pohl

    On 6-13-2015 & on 4-30-16 I ordered densersize for $27 each a total of $54. I have not received either order. I would like my $ back. I have a record of both transactions on my credit card.

    • Customer Support

      Hi Cheryl,

      We are sorry you have not received your digital downloads! Please check your inbox for a message from Customer Support so we can resolve your issue.

  7. MT

    I subscribe to another similar web-site and below I have added some foods. Please correct me if necessary:

    Buy FRESH/FROZEN organic–snap peas (Imported?), white potatoes, hot pepper, kale/collard;
    Buy non-organic FRESH/FROZEN cantaloupe not from Mexico or imported(?), watermelon, sweet potatoes.

    I believe one has to think about how it is grown in the soil. See sweet potato and regular potato (heaven, if we grow above ground. I also can not determine so I choose organic fresh or organic frozen if possible). Same with fruits that have a thick skin as they grow to harbor toxin sprays.

  8. Joan

    I try to by organic but not every where stocks them.If I can’t get organic I try and by most product that are grown in Ireland @ not elsewhere.If a mother has 4 or 5 chrildren there is no way she could afford organic food.Here’s to every ones health.

  9. Karen Stone

    I appreciate all your information about bones! I am specifically worried that I might have to have a hip replacement…so my chiropractor is helping keep the joint area loosened up and I am continuing to do my daily walks with my dog and water exercises twice a week. But, I was wondering if you could give me a list of foods and nutrients that build collagen? I also learned that the fluids around knees are important too, so what keeps those fluids working well? The whole leg is influenced when one joint isn’t working up to speed, I have found and even the lower back. Thank you for any advice you can give.

    • Salome

      Comment. Thank you for informing me about my bone. I still don’t know how l can you please so That I can get the proper diet of
      bones .

  10. Rose

    I juice everyday with organic and non organic veggies and fruits. I wash them well with a scrub brush and warm water. Is that sufficient?

  11. shula


  12. Elaine Cole

    Hi Rebeca,
    My mother used to wash fruit using white vinegar. I don’t really know if it helped. Someone told me that the vinegar can destroy the vitamins but who knows. Also you cannot remove pesticides that have been incorporated into the fruits and vegetables while they were growing. I am not sure but I would have thought that definitely applied to potatoes, tomatoes, apples, pears and oranges. I try to buy organic as much as I can and I never ever eat apples or celery unless they are organic.

  13. Tanja

    Tangerines? Did you mean nectarines?

  14. Alfons

    Hi All

  15. Rebeca

    I usually wash some of these fruits like apples, grapes, etc.
    with white vinegar.

    I fill my sink with water and add one cup of white vinegar. I then add the fruit and let it soak for 20 minutes or more and then I rinse them.

    I was told this will remove the pesticides from the fruit.

    I did not think tangerines could be in that group since we don’t eat the skin.

    Any comments, I would appreciate knowing if this procedure I use is OK.


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That will help to remove some of the superficial residue, Rebeca, but it does not remove the residues found inside the fruit’s flesh itself. And it’s nectarines, not tangerines that are on the Dirty Dozen list. 🙂

    • Tanja

      Tangerines? Did you mean nectarines?

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