Clean 15 option

There is good news, though. Concerned consumers can consider choosing conventionally grown vegetables and fruits from the EWG’s Clean 15, a list of crops that tested lowest in pesticides, the report said. Nearly 65% of the foods on the list had no detectable levels of pesticide.

Avocados topped 2023’s list of least contaminated produce again this year, followed by sweet corn in second place. Pineapple, onions and papaya, frozen sweet peas, asparagus, honeydew melon, kiwi, cabbage, mushrooms, mangoes, sweet potatoes, watermelon, and carrots made up the rest of the list.

Being exposed to a variety of foods without pesticides is especially important during pregnancy and throughout childhood, experts say. Developing children need the combined nutrients but are also harder hit by contaminants such as pesticides.

“Pesticide exposure during pregnancy may lead to an increased risk of birth defects, low birth weight, and fetal death,” the American Academy of Pediatrics noted. “Exposure in childhood has been linked to attention and learning problems, as well as cancer.”


The AAP suggests parents and caregivers consult the shopper’s guide if they are concerned about their child’s exposure to pesticides.

Houlihan, director of Healthy Babies, Bright Futures, agreed: “Every choice to reduce pesticides in the diet is a good choice for a child.”