by Wayne Gendel

Pesticides are definitely dangerous to human health. One of the best things we can do to avoid pesticides is to consume organic foods. However, this isn’t always possible due to seasonal  availability.


When Using Conventional, Non-Organic Produce

  1. AVOID the non-organic fruits and vegetables that are the most pesticide contaminated (see list below)
  2. PROPERLY CLEAN  both organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables
  3. PEEL NON-ORGANIC Produce whenever possible. Yes that means pears, apples, etc. I know many nutritionists say that the peel contains the most vitamins, but this is not quite true. The peel of fruits is often indigestible, so even though it may contain many vitamins, they are not assimilated. Making fruit shakes by blending makes the skins more digestible.
    – Wash your produce with a non-toxic soap special produce wash
    – Wash/Soak produce with ‘food grade’ hydrogen peroxide H2O2. Do NOT use pharmacy grade as it contains chemicals. Washing your produce when you get home will preserve the produce and make it last longer and stay fresher. Makes it easier for you to eat healthy when your fruits and veggies are ready to eat!
    * Using both will minimize pesticides and harmful baccteria. Both available at most grocery and health food stores.
  5. You can lower your pesticide exposure simply by avoiding the top most contaminated types of fruit and vegetables, and eating the least contaminated. Eating the most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to nearly 20 pesticides per day, on average. Consuming the least contaminated will expose a person to about 2 or 3 pesticides per day.

The Top Contaminated Fruits:

  1. Peaches
  2. Strawberries
  3. Apples
  4. Nectarines
  5. Pears
  6. American Cherries
  7. Red Raspberries
  8. Imported Grapes (Chile, Mexico, etc.)
  9. Mexican Cantaloupe
  10. Apricots

Some of these fruits, such as peaches, strawberries, nectarines and raspberries can contain up to 45 different pesticides.

The Top Contaminated Vegetables:

  1. Celery
  2. Spinach
  3. Potatoes
  4. Sweet Bell Pepper
  5. Green Beans
  6. Cucumbers (English and pickling cucumbers are much better!)

The Least Contaminated Fruits Are:

  1. Pineapples
  2. Mangoes
  3. Bananas
  4. Kiwi
  5. Papaya
  6. American Grapes
  7. Watermelon
  8. Plums

The Least Contaminated Vegetables Are:

  1. Sweet corn
  2. Avocado
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Asparagus
  5. Onions
  6. Peas
  7. Broccoli
  8. Sweet Potato
  9. Brussel Sprouts

The Final Word
Consume organic foods as much as possible. When that is not possible, select the foods that have the least pesticides on them. Wash both organic and non-organic produce.

Reference: Crinnion WJ. Environmental Medicine: The Human Burden of Environmental Toxin and Their Common Health Effects.

Please Live Forever Healthy!

Wayne GendelLife Extension Specialist