By: Violet Batcha
It’s easy to see the benefits organic agriculture has on the health and wellness of organic livestock and the environment. But what about for us, the people actually buying and eating the stuff?
A study recently conducted by Australian researchers showed that eating organic food, even for just one week, can reduce the pesticide levels in your body by nearly 90 percent!
The study’s participants were split into two groups, one that ate at least 80 percent organic food while the other ate at least 80 percent non-organic or conventional food. After one week the groups switched diets.
In order to gauge bodily pesticide levels, the researches measured the participants’ urinary levels of six dialkylphosphate metabolites, known to be the breakdown chemicals of organophosphate pesticides. They measured once after the first week then again after the second week when the participants had switched diets.
They found that the group that had been eating organic food had an 89 percent reduction of their urinary pesticide levels.
The EPA has listed organophosphate pesticides as acutely toxic to bees, wildlife, and you guessed it – people. Babies, toddlers and kids are even more vulnerable than adults to pesticide exposure. Youngster’s digestive tracts absorb toxins more readily than adults, and children’s kidneys don’t detoxify as efficiently as adult kidneys.
And, of course, kids eat far more food (and pesticides) relative their body weight than adults do.
In 2011, three separate studies published at the same time reached nearly identical, and very troubling, conclusions: Children who were exposed to the organophosphate pesticides while babies in their mother’s womb had lower IQs when they reached school age than unexposed children.
Other health problems that have been linked to low-dose exposure to organophosphates and other pesticides include increased rates of ADHD in children, cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
And, in 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics – hardly a hotbed of environmental activists – took the unprecedented step of issuing an exhaustive report warning about the risks pesticides – including those on foods – posed to children’s health.
We know that not everyone is able to buy organic 100 percent of the time. But there are ways to dramatically reduce yours and your families’ exposure to toxic crop chemicals. One way is to consult Environmental Working Group’s 2014 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce to find out which fruits and veggies are most important to buy organic in order to avoid exposure to dangerous pesticides.