There is growing concern that small doses of pesticide residues may adversely affect our health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) responded to this concern by running nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce by the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2004. What they found was that consumers could cut their pesticide exposure by 90 percent by either avoiding the top 12 most contaminated foods (i.e. the dirty dozen), or by choosing to buy them organic. Every year this list is updated based on the previous year’s harvest. The EWG is quick to remind consumers that the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables outweighs the known pesticide risks and therefore, also came up with “The Clean 15,” a list of those conventionally grown food items with the least detectable pesticide residue. If you find buying all organic difficult on your food budget, but are concerned about potential side effects of pesticide exposure, check out EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.