Eating organic vs eating pesticides


When it comes to the pesticide load on non-organic vs organic food, sometimes the difference is huge but sometimes it’s not. Knowing when it’s important to buy organic and when it doesn’t make as much difference can help make your money go a little further. By Zuzana Laukova.

You’ve probably heard that you should be eating more organic grains, fruit and vegetables whenever possible but you might not be so sure about why, especially when it can be so much more expensive than non-organic.

Let’s start with why organic is better. As well as being higher in antioxidants, one of the main reasons is the tonnes of pesticides being dumped all over non-organic crops around the world. The effects are proving devastating. These pesticides are ending up in our food and waterways and being stored in our bodies as toxins. The human health risks of this toxic pesticide build-up is everything from skin, eye and lung irritation to hormone disruption, brain and nervous system toxicity, cancers, and birth defects.

Pesticides are also destroying the natural world by poisoning the land and waters and killing off crucial parts of the ecosystem. For example, the liberal use of pesticides is behind the decimation of vast numbers of the world’s bee population. As well as the tragedy of losing the bees, we are faced with failed crops from a lack of pollination.

It’s crucial that the world’s human population changes its agricultural and farming practices. For the sake of the health of every living being on the planet as well as for the planet itself. Supporting organic producers is one thing we can all do. The trouble is that organic produce is currently more expensive than pesticide-laden produce. Of course, it’s always better to buy organic but as an interim measure, it’s helpful to know when buying organic makes a huge difference and when it doesn’t make such a big difference.

The following lists show the fruit and vegetables that you should be always buying organic – that’s the Dirty Dozen Plus (formerly the Dirty Dozen until two more vegetables were added). Then there’s the list of fruit and vegetables where it doesn’t matter so much as the pesticide load is not as high or doesn’t penetrate into the part of the fruit/vegetable that gets eaten – that’s the Clean Fifteen. This information comes from the Environmental Working Group, for more detail go to

Dirty dozen plus fruit and vege

Clean fifteen fruit and vege


ZUZANA LAUKOVA is a certified health coach working with private clients in Dubai. For information, see her website at


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