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In the News: The Dirty Dozen

What was once the name of an old WWII film is now the name of the twelve most pesticide-ridden fruits and vegetables in your produce aisle. A new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWP) discusses research of over 100,000 USDA and FDA pesticide reports on produce. They looked into which fruits and vegetables had the highest and lowest concentrations of chemical residue. There were twelve fruits and vegetables marked as the "Dirty Dozen" that contain 47 to 67 pesticides with each serving. The EWP warns against the cosumption of these chemicals and suggests purchasing these particular foods organically to reduce pesticide exposure by up to 80 percent.

So who are the bad boys of the Dirty Dozen?
Celery; Peaches; Strawberries; Apples; Domestic Blueberries; Nectarines; Sweet Bell Peppers; Spinach, Kale and Collard Greens; Cherries; Potatoes; Imported Grapes, and Lettuce

On the positive side, there were fifteen fruits and vegetables dubbed the "Clean 15" that were found to have a tough exterior that defended against contamination from pesticide exposure. These foods contained little to no pesticide residue and are perfectly fine to skip on the organic option and save a little money. The Clean 15 are:
Onions; Avocados; Sweet Corn; Pineapples; Mango; Sweet Peas; Asparagus; Kiwi; Cabbage; Eggplant; Cantaloupe; Watermelon; Grapefruit; Sweet Potatoes; and Sweet Onions.

So the moral of story? Be careful what you eat. Fruits and vegetable are vital to a balanced diet, but be wary of added chemicals to your plate. When it comes to the Dirty Dozen, opt for organic and reduce your pesticide exposure.

Want to learn more? Watch "Toxic America," a special two-night investigative report with Sanjay Gupta, M.D., June 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.