Pesticide Protection: Eat Organic!
Kids Benefit From Organic Foods
Switching to organic foods provides children “dramatic and immediate” protection from widely used pesticides that are used on a variety of crops, according to a new study. A team of environmental health scientists from the University of Washington, Emory University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that concentrations of two organophosphate pesticides – malathion and chlorpyrifos – declined substantially in the bodies of elementary-school age children during a five-day period when organic foods were substituted for conventional foods.
The two chemicals are the most commonly used insecticides in U.S. agriculture. More than two million pounds were applied to California crops in 2003, according to records of the state Department of Pesticide Regulation. The health effects of exposure to minute amounts of pesticides found in food are largely unknown, especially for children. Some research, however, suggests that the residue may harm the developing nervous system.
For 15 days, the researchers tested the urine of 23 elementary-school age children in the Seattle area. During the first three days and last seven days, the children ate their normal foods. But during the middle five days, organic items were substituted for most of their diet, including fruits, vegetables, juices and wheat and corn-based processed items such as cereal and pasta. Average levels of both pesticides in the children “decreased to the non-detect levels immediately after the introduction of organic diets and remained non-detectable until the conventional diets were reintroduced,” the researchers reported in the online version of the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
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