A study conducted by researchers from RMIT university, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that following an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide exposure in adults.
Thirteen participants were randomly selected to consume a diet consisting of at least 80% organic or conventional food for seven days, afterwards crossing over to the alternative diet from which they started. Scientists analyzed urinary levels of pesticides and discovered that urinary dialkylphosphates (DAPs) measurements were 89% lower when participants ate an organic diet for seven days compared to a conventional diet for the same amount of time.
The researchers also discuss the complicated history of pesticide use:
To understand this controversial issue it is helpful to look at the history of pesticide use. Prior to World War II, the pesticides that we use now did not yet exist. Some pesticides currently in use were in fact developed during the World War II for use in warfare. The organophosphate insecticides were developed as nerve gases, and the phenoxy herbicides, including 2,4-D (the most commonly used herbicide in Canada), were created to eradicate the Japanese rice crop, and later used as a component of Agent Orange to defoliate large areas in jungle warfare. After World War II, these chemicals began to be used as pesticides in agricultural production, for environmental spraying of neighbourhoods for mosquito eradication, and for individual home and garden use.
Conducted by Dr. Liza Oates as part of her PhD project and supervised by Professor Marc Cohen from RMIT’s School of Health Sciences, the study was supported in part by a donation to RMIT University from Bharat Mitra, co-founder of Organic India Pty Ltd.
The study has big implications for children:
“Conventional food production commonly uses organophosphate (OP) pesticides, which can have negative health effects, while organic food is deemed healthier because it is produced without these pesticides. Studies suggest that organic food consumption may significantly reduce OP pesticide exposure in children who have relatively higher pesticide exposure than adults due to their different diets, body weight, behaviour and less efficient metabolism.”
Below is a very interesting clip titled “The Organic Effect” from the Swedish Environmental Research Institute. Watch what happened when this family decided to switch to organic food. Here is the full report.
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