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The Dirty Dozen – Should you be buying organic?

Have you ever heard of the Dirty Dozen? These 12 produce items are said to contain the most pesticides of any on the market, and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) says you should only buy produce on this list if they are organic. But is it worth it? Let’s look at the facts. 

The Dirty Dozen  

According to EWG, the Dirty Dozen is said to contain higher levels of pesticides to the point where they would have an impact on your health. The group bases these allegations on data from the federal Department of Agriculture and compares the levels of pesticides that may be considered a carcinogen, or have other significant health risks, to their own standards of safety levels. This group recommends not purchasing any produce from the dirty dozen list unless it is certified organic. There recommended organic list is as follows: 

  • Strawberries 
  • Spinach 
  • Kale, collard, & mustard greens 
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Cherries 
  • Peaches 
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes 

What does organic even mean? 

Organic denotes food that is grown without fertilizers, pesticides, or any other artificial additions. A few studies have claimed that choosing organic leads to better nutrition, and avoiding pesticide exposure can help your overall health.

Is there really an advantage to buying organic?

It seems simple to buy organic for those items, but does it help your health, and is it worth it monetarily? On average, organic foods are more expensive than generic produce by 10-50%, according to Harvard Health.

With the added cost to your budget, is organic worth it from a health perspective?

According to research, there are no nutritional advantages to organic food, nor do they have significantly lower pesticide residue. Both organic and non-organic produce are considered to have safe levels of pesticides. Plus, there is little evidence to suggest that pesticides even have a long-term effect on your health. 

The Verdict

So for now, it is your choice whether to buy organic or non-organic, just as long as you eat your fruits and vegetables. 

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