Ask the Diva: Can You Wash (or Peel) Pesticides Off Fruits and Vegetables?
Q. Does peeling apples or other fruits and veggies mitigate the effects of pesticide exposure? How effective an alternative is this to buying organic?
A. You can substantially reduce the pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables by peeling them. However, there is some sacrifice of nutrition because the skins of fruits and vegetables often contain a higher proportion of fiber and/or certain nutrients. Washing also reduces pesticide residues (using vinegar can help), although to a lesser extent. For high-residue produce like apples, washing and/or peeling them would probably be a good idea, especially if they are foods that you eat frequently.
For more on avoiding pesticides in produce, see my show on the dirty dozen.
And for tips on international pesticide levels refer to this Quick Tip.