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What is the Dirty Dozen and why should you care?

It's better to buy apples that are organically grown.
It's better to buy apples that are organically grown.

The Dirty Dozen is a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that you should buy organic when you can.  It’s more important to buy some produce grown organically than others due to the way the pesticides are absorbed or deflected.

Pesticides may help yield higher amounts of crops, but they are very unhealthy for your body. They are toxic by design, created to kill insects, fungi, weeds and other pests. Pesticide exposure has been linked to serious diseases and developmental disorders including:

  • Nervous system disorders

  • Immune system suppression

  • Breast and other types of cancer

  • Reproductive damage

  • Disruption of hormonal systems

What’s more, a recent study in the journal Pediatrics demonstrates that exposure to pesticides is linked to ADHD in children. Cases of ADHD have risen significantly over the last 15 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 4.5 million children ages five to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD in the U.S.

Fortunately, buying organic produce has gotten easier than ever. Virtually all grocery stores carry them and organic farmers markets are popping up all over town. See a list of local resources to help you find them below.

The Dirty Dozen

Buy these organic when you can:

  • Peaches

  • Apples

  • Sweet bell peppers

  • Celery

  • Nectarines

  • Strawberries

  • Cherries

  • Lettuce

  • Grapes (imported)

  • Pears

  • Spinach

  • Potatoes

Resources to help you find organic produce in the Cleveland area:

OTHER SOURCES:,8599,1989564,00.html#ixzz0rKn38Yf1



  • Helene 5 years ago

    Great article. We just watched the movie "Food Inc." and have been thinking a lot about this.

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