EWG Report Unveils 12 Common Fruits and Vegetables with Highest Pesticide Levels in 2024

April 26, 2024
2 mins read
Adding a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits like strawberries to your diet can help increase your intake of important vitamins and antioxidants.(Source: Flickr)
Adding a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits like strawberries to your diet can help increase your intake of important vitamins and antioxidants.(Source: Flickr)

Fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a diet due to their nutritional value, fiber content, and many other health benefits. They are valued as natural and healthy options. However, the use of pesticides has led researchers to develop the so-called “Dirty Dozen,” which includes those with the highest levels of chemicals.

A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to determining the safety of products and their ingredients for consumers, reveals a list of these 12 foods categorized as containing the most pesticides.

The findings show that the vegetables and fruits of the Dirty Dozen are loaded with fungicides that can disrupt human hormonal systems.

A significant finding is that 75 percent of non-organic products, and 95 percent of the Dirty Dozen items, are coated with pesticides.

Meanwhile, nearly 65 percent of the samples from EWG’s 2024 Clean Fifteen™ fruits and vegetables had no detectable pesticide residues.

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EWG, a component of the Shopper’s Guide, identifies the 12 non-organic or conventional fresh products with the highest amounts of pesticides, with four of the five most frequently detected chemicals being the fungicides fludioxonil, pyraclostrobin, boscalid, and pyrimethanil.

According to the new report from EWG based on testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which analyzed 47,510 samples from 46 different fruits and vegetables, the organization notes that “USDA peeling and washing produce samples before analysis, whereas the FDA only removes dirt first,” and yet the tests found traces of 254 pesticides in the analyzed fruits and vegetables.

EWG on its website explains that “pesticides are chemicals designed to kill living organisms considered pests, including insects, weeds, and mold. Even after washing fruits and vegetables, pesticide residues remain on the products.”

These chemicals can cause health damage, “Research shows that certain pesticides used in U.S. agricultural products are linked to cancer, hormonal disruptions, and cognitive and behavioral problems,” EWG states.

The top 12 fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides in the United States are:

  1. Strawberries – More than 90 percent of strawberry samples tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  2. Spinach- Spinach is another vegetable on the list because it contains pesticides banned by the EU.
  3. Kale, collard greens, and mustard greens- Nearly 50 percent of kale samples reviewed contained possibly carcinogenic pesticides.
  4. Grapes- Over 90 percent of grape samples tested positive for two or more pesticides.
  5. Peaches- 99 percent of the fresh peach samples tested were contaminated with pesticide residues.
  6. Pears- At least 6 out of 10 non-organic pear samples recently analyzed by the USDA showed traces of five or more pesticides.
  7. Nectarines- More than 90 percent of nectarine samples tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  8. Apples- Apples are sprayed with chemicals after harvest and typically contain residues of more than four different pesticides.
  9. Bell and hot peppers- EWG found that bell and hot peppers had the second-highest number of individual pesticides detected, with 101 different chemicals found in these items.
  10. Cherries- Like grapes and nectarines, more than 90 percent of cherry samples tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  11. Blueberries- For the second year in a row, this fruit is ranked 11th in the Dirty Dozen for pesticide use.
  12. Green beans- Green beans are part of the Dirty Dozen, contaminated by a pesticide banned by the EPA more than 10 years ago.

Tejal Somvanshi

Meet Tejal Somvanshi, a soulful wanderer and a staunch wellness advocate, who elegantly navigates through the enchanting domains of Fashion and Beauty with a natural panache. Her journey, vividly painted with hues from a vibrant past in the media production world, empowers her to carve out stories that slice through the cacophony, where brands morph into characters and marketing gimmicks evolve into intriguing plot twists. To Tejal, travel is not merely an activity; it unfolds as a chapter brimming with adventures and serendipitous tales, while health is not just a regimen but a steadfast companion in her everyday epic. In the realms of fashion and beauty, she discovers her muse, weaving a narrative where each style narrates a story, and every beauty trend sparks a dialogue. Tejal seamlessly melds the spontaneous spirit of the media industry with the eloquent prose of a storyteller, crafting tales as vibrant and dynamic as the industry she thrives in.

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