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The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

By EWG Science Team
MARCH 15, 2023

Nearly 75 percent of non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful pesticides, EWG’s 2023 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ finds. In this year’s guide, blueberries and green beans join our Dirty Dozen™ list of the 12 fruits and vegetables sampled that have the highest traces of pesticides.

Any exposure to pesticides is a problem, given what we know about several ways they can harm humans. But the findings are particularly concerning for children, who are particularly vulnerable to many of the health harms associated with pesticide exposure.

The Shopper’s Guide represents EWG’s analysis of the latest fruit and vegetable testing data from the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. The 2023 guide includes data from 46,569 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables. The USDA peels or scrubs and washes produce samples before testing, whereas the FDA only removes dirt before testing its samples. Even after these steps, the tests still find traces 251 different pesticides.

The guide includes our Dirty Dozen as well as our Clean Fifteen™, which shows which fruits and vegetables tested have very low or no traces of pesticides.

Some of the USDA’s tests show traces of pesticides long since banned by the Environmental Protection Agency. Much stricter federal regulation and oversight of these chemicals is needed.

Consumption of fruit and vegetables, organic or not, is critical to a healthy diet and good health. But for shoppers concerned about dietary pesticide exposure, EWG’s Shopper’s Guide, released every year since 2004, provides information about the fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues, so consumers can make the best decisions for their families.

Complete List of Food Additives to avoid

There are a number of definitions in the market place for ‘Natural Food Products’ and sometimes navigating the thousands of products in the grocery store isles can be a daunting task.

Sometimes one might think, that buying something that is labelled as ‘Sugar-Free’ or ‘Fat-Free is better for their health, when in-fact it’s not. When thinking about it simply, if it comes in a packet, it’s processed, and that means the food can be treated with a range of chemicals to make it look appealing and retain its shelf life. There are a few select companies that use natural ingredients like Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) to act as a preservative in foods, but it takes practice to find these products and typically, they are sold at health-food centred shops, rather than multi-national food chains.

Essentially, limiting the consumption of processed foods is better for your health, but not all together un-avoidable. So to help consumers make better choices, on the next pages is an extensive list of the top food additives and ingredients to avoid.

Please download the ‘Top 12 Food Additives To Avoid’ booklet, for an in-depth look at the risks associated with some of these additives. This will give you an idea on why its best practice to avoid the additives and ingredients on this expanded list.

Additives listed below that are in colour, are listed on the ‘Top 12 Food Additives To Avoid’ booklet.

In Europe, food additives are coded with an E-Number classification. This classification is also used in Australia on food labelling. However in the USA and other countries, food labels list the actual technical name for the ingredient rather than just the E-Number.

Comprehensive list of cosmetic ingredients to avoid

The skin is a miraculous organ that covers your entire body. It’s a protective barrier against the elements of heat, injury, light and infection. The skin stores water, essential fat, regulates your body temperature and prevents nasties from getting in.

So why is it then, that we harm this beautiful piece of organic machinery, by slathering toxic and potentially cancer-causing chemicals on it? You wouldn’t rub petrol into the walls of your liver or your heart, so why would you do it to your skin? For some, it might be the cost of products, for others the belief in it’s so called ‘beauty enhancing effects.’

Most people don’t realise, that the skin is designed to keep elements out! So, if that $500 jar of snail cream is not formulated into the micron size needed to penetrate the skin, then it serves no better benefit than just a way to retain moisture by creating a surface barrier.
In saying that, let’s now formulate that snail cream with some toxic chemicals designed to damage the skin so the snail cream elements are able to penetrate it. But what is the benefit of that? You might as well date Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at the same time!

The unfortunate thing is that chemicals are somewhat cheaper to obtain and use than natural oils. Some products are formulated without using any natural ingredients at all. But at what cost? It may be cheaper for your pocket, but what is the cost to your health in the long term?

There is much debate around products that contain Gluten and whether or not it affects Celiac Disease Patients. So far the research shows that there is no link between using Gluten-containing products and the degradation of the intestinal walls from a stimulated immune system. However, there are countless claims from Celiac Patients who report adverse side effects to these products. An acute irritation to the skin may be possible and is typically linked to the aggravation of Dermatitis, however, is that only attributed to Gluten Ingredients or could it be to other toxic chemicals too?

There are reports that repeated exposure over a long period seems to present a ‘build up’ in the body and lead to the overall degradation of health. Either way, products that contain Gluten-derived ingredients are not needed when there are better alternatives available. Best to err on the side of caution.

The next few pages contain a comprehensive list of Chemicals to avoid in body care products. When detoxifying your diet, it’s best to back it up by detoxifying your skin. There are some amazing natural, and very beneficial products out there that you can use instead of a chemical maze. But its up to you!