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Top 10 Fruits And Vegetables To Buy Organic

Updated on February 9, 2015

Make wiser choices at the produce section

The USDA's tests show that most non-organic produce contain residual pesticides even after washing . The long term effects of consuming these pesticides has not been sufficiently studied, but they can't be good for you.
Though it would be ideal, It is difficult and expensive to buy everything organic. To make wiser consumer decisions, here is a list of produce with the highest levels of pesticide contamination. The following list is based on information and studies by the USDA and Consumers Reports.

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Pesticide use on potatoes is growing and they may contain dieldrin and Methamidophos

Why is this of concern?

Dieldrin is a highly toxic chlorinated hydrocarbon. Dieldrin can build up in the body after years of exposure at it is stored in the fat and leaves the body very slowly this can affect the nervous system. Dieldrin has been banned in the United States since 1987 and in most of the world due to its highly toxic nature and its inability to break down in the environment. More on Dieldrin is discussed further on this page (see winter squash).

Methamidophos is used in a variety of crops including broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, grapes, celery, sugar beets, cotton, tobacco, and potatoes. It kills a broad range of pests including the Colorado potato beetles and potato tubeworms, armyworms, mites, and leafhoppers. Methamidophos has been shown as a weak mutagenic, also having an effect on sperm counts in males and connected to liver toxicity. It is very toxic to birds, bees and aquatic animals.


The following pesticides have been consistently found in spinach - permethrin, dimethoate, and DDT

Why is this of concern?

Permethrin, is a synthetic pyrethroids and a neurotoxin. Symptoms from exposure to this insecticide include tremors, incoordination, elevated body temperature, increased aggressive behavior, and disruption of learning. Laboratory tests suggest that permethrin is more acutely toxic to children than to adults. Permethrin is also toxic to honey bees and other beneficial insects, fish, aquatic insects, crayfish, and shrimp. For many species, concentrations of less than one part per billion are lethal. Not only has permethrin routinely been found on produce, but it has also been found in streams and rivers throughout the United States and now a wide variety of insects including head lice, cockaroaches and tobacco budworms have developed resistance to permethrin.

Dimethoate is also an 'extremely hazardous' organophosphate and pesticide used on many fruit and vegetable crops. Dimethoate is possibly carcinogenic. For a more in depth look at this pesticide visit The Toxicology Network

DDT was developed as the first of the modern insecticides early in World War II and is currently banned for use in the United States, though still used in other prats of the world. DDT has caused chronic effects on the nervous system, liver, kidneys,and immune systems in experimental animals, it is a known carcinogenic and mutagenic. DDT is discussed further on this page.


Raspberries may contain captan, iprodione and carbaryl .

Why is this of concern?

Captan is the name of a general use fungicides used to control diseases on a number of fruits and vegetables and to enhance their appearance. It was phased out of general usage as a pesticide in the United States in 1989 because it is recognized by the EPA as a probable carcinogen.

Carbaryl is a cholinesterase inhibitor and is toxic to humans. It is classified as a likely human carcinogen by the EPA. It also kills various beneficial insect and crustacean species along with it's intended pest victims. It's banned in many countries but interestingly enough sold in an over the counter shampoo in Australia to control lice.

Iprodione is also a contact fungicide used to control a wide variety of crop diseases. It is labeled as slightly toxic and Information on animal metabolism of iprodione is currently lacking.

Other reasons to buy organic: No pesticides means healthier soil, water, and wildlife.

Buying organic supports small farmers.

Organic farming is good for biodiversity.


The bright red color in strawberries comes from the fungicide captan , which is a probable human carcinogen, is lethal to fish and can also cause eye and skin irritation. Methyl bromide is another fumigant used in strawberry production. It has not shown up in tests on the fruit but it has caused harm to California farm workers in addition to harming the ozone layer.

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To Buy or Not to Buy Organic: What You Need to Know to Choose the Healthiest, Safest, Most Earth-Friendly Food
To Buy or Not to Buy Organic: What You Need to Know to Choose the Healthiest, Safest, Most Earth-Friendly Food

An excellent text which tells you how to choose the healthiest, safest, most earth-friendly food, as you make your way through the supermarket, your local farmer's market, or your natural foods store. Highlights include: Making sense of the choices presented by organic, local, sustainable, minimally treated, grass-fed and cage-free foods. Reduce your exposure to pesticides and save money by knowing the foods you want to eat only if they're organic and the foods that are pesticide-free even when they are nonorganic.



Grapes grown in the United States have been shown to have residue of methyl parathion and methomyl both of which are insecticides listed as endocrine disruptors. Imported grapes may also contain dimethoate

Why is this of concern?

Methyl parathion is an organophosphate (OP) insecticide that has caused many health problems - particularly in developing countries since its introduction onto the market in the early 1950s. It was originally developed by the German pesticide company Bayer. It is a non-systemic pesticide that kills pests by acting as a stomach poison. The World Health Organization classifies methyl parathion as an 'extremely hazardous' pesticide as it is highly toxic by inhalation and ingestion, and moderately toxic by dermal adsorption (it is also readily adsorbed through the skin). Methyl parathion is discussed further on this page and for a more indepth look at this pesticide visit The Public Health Statement For Methyl Parathion

Dimethoate is also an 'extremely hazardous' organophosphate and pesticide used on many fruit and vegetable crops. Dimethoate is possibly carcinogenic. For a more in depth look at this pesticide visit The Toxicology Network

Grapes Are A Superfruit - So Drink Organic Wine!!

Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 2009 Edition (Kevin Zraly's Complete Wine Course)
Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 2009 Edition (Kevin Zraly's Complete Wine Course)

Wine is a great way to enjoy your grapes and get your antioxidants too! this book is the liveliest short course on wine ever wrapped between two covers, check it out!



Green beans have been shown to contain traces of acephate, methamidophos and dimethoate as well as endosulfan

Why is this of concern?

Acephate and methamidophosis are organophosphate insecticides used mainly on greenhouse crops to control aphids, leaf miners and caterpillars. Both have been linked to reproductive organ toxicity and reduced sperm count in males.

Endosulfan is a chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide used on mites and insects. It is highly toxic to birds, fish and aquatic species. The U.S. EPA considers it to be a potential human endocrine disruptor, and in 2000 Agency for Toxics and Disease Registry (ATSDR) concluded that "endosulfan may potentially cause reproductive toxicity in humans." Since then, studies of popluations exposed to endosulfan have been published suggesting that endosulfan can increase the risk of autism, delay puberty in boys, and cause birth defects of the male reproductive system. It is not a known carcinogen.

Fruits and vegetables found to contain the least amount of pesticides:



Kiwi,Mangoes,Onions, Papaya, Pineapples, Sweet Peas


Potent carcinogens have shown up in tests of winter squash. These include dieldrin, heptachlor, and DDT (as well as break down procuct DDE )

Why is this of concern?

Dieldrin is a chlorinated hydrocarbon originally developed in the 1940s as an alternative to DDT. It is an extremely persistent organic pollutant as it does not easily break down. It tends to biomagnify (become more concentrated) as it is passed up through the food chain. Long-term exposure has proven toxic to a very wide range of animals including humans, far greater than to the original insect targets. For this reason it is now banned in most of the world. It has been linked to health problems such as Parkinson's, Breast Cancer, and immune, reproductive, and nervous system damage. It can also adversly affect testicular descent in the fetus if a pregnant woman is exposed to Dieldrin.

DDT is one of the most well-known synthetic pesticides. it has been used widely and is not either restricted or banned in many countries. it is extremely harmful to wildlife and toxic to humans. for more information on DDT, its history and harmful effects, visit here

Heptachlor is another long time harmful insecticide and possible human carcinogen.


Both fresh pears and baby food pears have shown methyl parathion as well as azinphos-methyl

Why is this of concern?

Azinphos-methyl is a neurotoxin derived from nerve agents developed during World War II. It is one of the most toxic of the organophosphate insecticides and has been linked to a variety of health problems of farmers who apply it. Several studies have indicated that azinphos-methyl causes adverse effects in wildlife, especially mammals, and it is highly toxic to bees. It is scheduled to be phased out by the year 2012.


Apples may contain methyl parathion and chlorpyrifos

Why is this of concern?

Methyl parathion, as discussed earlier, is an organophosphate. Organophosphates are potent neurotoxins that attack the nervous system and brain.

Chlorpyrifos is a toxic crystalline organophosphate insecticide and one of the most widely used. Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxin and suspected endocrine disruptor, and it has been associated with asthma, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and acute toxicity. It is highly toxic to amphibians.


Peaches often contain high residues of iprodione which is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA.

In addition, methyl parathion , as discussed earlier which is an endocrine disruptor and organophosphate insecitcide. Organophosphates are potent neurotoxins that attack the nervous system and brain. Methyl parathion has also caused massive kills of bees and birds and according to consumers reports, single servings of peaches consistently exceeded EPA's safe daily limit for a 44 lb. child.

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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

      Great Lens.

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 7 years ago

      This is a great list, thanks for offering it up! Certain veggies and fruits are more important to buy organic than others, I agree. The problem sometimes is finding them in organic varieties.

    • profile image

      dikandaa 8 years ago

      very good lenses but so scary...

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      This is a thoughtful presentation and exactly what I needed to know. Thank you!