12 Foods You Must Buy Organic Because of Pesticides Risk

Anissa Ford's picture

Less than 25 percent of consumers understand the term "Dirty Dozen" to mean anything other than a 1967 Charles Bronson and Ernest Borgnine movie, but these are foods that you need to buy organic because of the pesticides risk.

The “Dirty Dozen” is a term coined for those foods that are best purchased organic because of the pesticides risk. In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel’s report recommended Americans consume produce without pesticides to reduce cancer risks and risk of other diseases.

The President’s Cancer Panel based its recommendations on a list from the EWG (The Environmental Working Group). Today, just two years later, the organic market hasn't caught on wildly with consumers.

In fact, more than 59 percent of Americans see the organic label only as an excuse to charge more. Even in a recovering economy, Americans are returning to retailers cautiously and conservatively. And even in an era where many people are demonstrating concern for the environment, the concern doesn't take precedence over financial conservatism.

Yet, even as Americans aren't interested in spending extra money on organic produce. Only three in ten will pay more for organic produce, but eight in ten will seek out organic foods. More than 55 percent of consumers believe that organic food is healthier food. 41 percent feel organic food tastes better and is fresher than non- organic.

The Dirty Dozen ---foods that should be purchased organic because of its pesticide risks

domestic blueberries
sweet bell peppers
spinach, kale and collard greens
imported grapes

The Clean 15 are "safe" foods, produce that bears little to no traces of pesticides in non-organic form:

sweet corn
sweet peas
kiwi fruit
sweet potatoes
sweet onions

The irony of American pesticide dilemma is that most people purchase fruits, like strawberries and grapes to reduce cancer risks. But pesticides keep the risk healthy and the majority of consumers aren't willing to shell out extra money to better avoid the cancer risk.

Organic consumers are thought of as environmentalists, but organic consumers aren't omniscient about behaviors that benefit the environment. A German study found that it is more environmentally friendly to use dishwashers than wash a full load of dishes by hand in the sink. The dishwasher, in the German university study, saved electricity, water, and soap detergent.

Nearly 63 percent (two-thirds) of consumers are making the effort to go green with organic purchases and organic cleaning products. That statistic is up from 51 percent in 2009.

All figures and percentages on the organic consumer attitudes were polled by the Harris Group. Between March 13 - 18, 2013. In total, approximately 2,700 people were polled.


But since the trace amounts of pesticides are several orders of magnitude lower than the minimum reference dose (the daily dose level for safety) the dirty dozen don't really matter that much.

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