The EWG's 2019 Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 Lists Are Here! Don't Make This Mistake About Them!

Kale made a surprising appearance this year on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen, while avocado lovers rejoiced as it tested No. 1 on the Clean 15 for the lowest amounts of pesticides!

Kale made a surprising appearance this year on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen, while avocado lovers rejoiced as it tested No. 1 on the Clean 15 for the lowest amounts of pesticides!

When we saw the news that the EWG had released the 2019 Dirty Dozen & Clean 15, we immediately went to check it out. Our Dad, who’s visiting and helping us get ready for SHE Day: OC, was in ear shot as we started exclaiming about various tidbits as we scrolled through the list.

Wait, what?! Kale is on the list?!”

Seriously! 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and kale tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides! 90 percent!

As he heard us, he asked the question almost everyone asks when they learn about the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen:

But isn’t that before the produce is washed?” he asked. “It can’t be that bad, can it?“

And that’s what most people don’t understand about this list…

Every year when the EWG releases the Dirty Dozen, which are the 12 fruits and vegetables contaminated with the highest levels of pesticide residues and the Clean Fifteen, which is a list of the fruits and vegetables with the lowest amount of residues, that testing is done when all produce was thoroughly washed and peeled, just as consumers would prepare the food at home.

A lot of people will skip buying organic because they think the pesticides and chemicals can be washed off or peeled off, but it’s been absorbed in the produce as it grows, so there is not a fool-proof way to get rid of it. You can read more about washing your fruits and vegetables here. It is good - and you totally want to do it - but it doesn’t help as much as you’d like against pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and all the things getting sprayed on conventional produce!

Ok, now that we’ve emphasized that mind-blowing fact, here’s a few other notable details about this year’s list. You can compare it to last year’s EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, which you’ll find here.


  • The guide, released every year since 2004, ranks the pesticide contamination of 47 popular fruits and vegetables. It is based on results of more than 40,900 samples of produce (yikes!) tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

  • Kale is a surprise addition to the list this year. Kale and spinach samples had, on average, 10 to 80 percent more pesticide residue by weight than any other crop. Multiple samples of kale showed 18 different pesticides.

  • Overall, nearly 70 percent of the conventionally grown produce sold in the U.S. comes with pesticide residues, EWG’s 2019 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 analysis found.

  • More than 70 percent of fruit and vegetable samples on the Clean Fifteen list had no pesticide residues.

  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 6 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had two or more pesticides. So if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll really want to get familiar with this year’s list!

Here’s both lists for you to use when you shop. Bookmark this blog or any list of the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen so you can easily reference them in the store. It helps you stay on budget but avoid the most unwanted pesticides. Plus, pesticides are one of the endocrine disrupters messing with our hormones as women, making your efforts even more worth it.

Happy Shopping!

The 2019 EWG Dirty Dozen

The EWG ‘s 2019 Dirty Dozen List

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale

  4. Nectarines

  5. Apples

  6. Grapes

  7. Peaches

  8. Cherries

  9. Pears

  10. Tomatoes

  11. Celery

  12. Potatoes

  13. Bonus: hot peppers

The 2019 EWG Clean 15

The EWG’s Clean 15 2019 List

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapples

  4. Frozen sweet peas

  5. Onions

  6. Papayas

  7. Eggplants

  8. Asparagus

  9. Kiwis

  10. Cabbages

  11. Cauliflower

  12. Cantaloupes

  13. Broccoli

  14. Mushrooms

  15. Honeydew melons