dirty dozen chemicals

The Dirty Dozen Chemicals Found In Most Households

We’re told to eat lots of fruit and veggies, but many don’t know that they are bringing pesticides into their home when they get back from the grocery store.

What Are The Dirty Dozen? Pesticides In Fruits and Vegetables

The Dirty Dozen is made up of 12 produce items that are found to have the highest levels of pesticide residue. Pesticides are dangerous to consume, and can have adverse health benefits like birth defects, cancer, nervous or immune system damage, alzheimers, and ADHD, among other things. Pesticides can remain in and on fruits and veggies even after peeling, scrubbing and washing them!

Organic products are a great way to still enjoy your favorite fruits and veggies without worrying about the pesticides! However, the benefits of eating non-organic fruits and veggies still far outweighs the downsides of not eating any at all!

dirty dozen

Here is a list of the dirty dozen – the 12 produce items that you should try to buy from the organic section instead!

Meet The EWG's Dirty Dozen of 2023

The Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, Collard and Mustard Greens
  4. Peaches
  5. Pears
  6. Nectarines
  7. Apples
  8. Grapes
  9. Bell and Hot Peppers
  10. Cherries
  11. Blueberries
  12. Green Beans

Meet The EWG's Clean 15

We know organic foods tend to be more costly than the non-organic alternatives. There are also certain fruits and veggies that do not contain or carry a lot of pesticides, so they are the ones that are still good to buy non-organic! Known as the clean fifteen, they comprise:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew Melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Mangoes
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Carrots

Abby Maxwell

Studying Honors Health Sciences at Western University, Abby is passionate about finding ways to promote and support wellness and healthy environments in her community.
She is always looking for new ways to connect with others through practices like spending time outdoors, gardening, camping, and going for hikes.

VOCs in Common Household Items

Now that we’ve covered the best fruits and veggies to buy organically, let’s talk about the different pollutants that can be found in the different products you may have in your house or under your bathroom sink. 

What are VOC's

VOCs stands for volatile organic compounds and they are released in gas form from certain substances. Many of them are human made, and actually quite dangerous to our health when they enter our system. VOCs can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat, and can also cause difficulty breathing, nausea, and damage your central nervous system, with the additional risk of causing cancer.

VOCs are consistently more dangerous indoors, by almost tenfold. They are commonly found in cleaning products, office supplies like printers, adhesives, varnishes and finishes, flooring and carpet, air fresheners, and cosmetics, just to mention a few. 

Tips For A Nontoxic Home

VOCs are dangerous, but there are things we can do to avoid them!

  • Use natural, VOC-free, fragrance free cleaning supplies, or even try making your own!
  • When buying building supplies and paints, look for products that indicate “low VOCs” on the label. 
  • If you can’t use the product outdoors, use ventilation, open windows, and proper personal protective equipment when working indoors with VOCs
  • Try different ways of tackling your project, for example, use integrated methods for pest control instead of using pesticides
  • Try purchasing natural and fragrance-free cosmetic and beauty products 
  • Allow fresh air to circulate in your home frequently

If you liked this article, check out further actionable tips you can take to protect your local waterways in this blog post here

Do you have other microplastic pollution prevention tips you can share with the community?

Feel free to share them along with this article on your socials! 


dirty dozen and clean 15

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