Organic Diet May Reduce Pesticide Exposure in Children

New research supports the old adage, you are what you eat—specifically, as it applies to your kids. A new study has found that children who eat an organic diet have lower levels of pesticides in their bodies. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, included 40 Mexican-American children, aged three to six. Half of the children lived in an urban setting and half lived in agricultural communities. Researchers placed the children on a 16 day diet: they ate conventionally grown food for the first 4 days, organic food for the next 7 days, and conventionally grown food for the remaining 5 days. Researchers tested the children’s urine throughout the study for metabolites of various commonly used pesticides. The researchers also took into account the children’s pesticide exposure associated with where their homes were located. Here is what they found:

  • While the children were on the organic diet, levels of metabolites from two commonly used types of pesticides and one herbicide were significantly reduced by 40%, 49%, and 25% respectively. Levels of other frequently occurring pesticide metabolites also decreased, but the changes were not statistically significant.
  • During the 16 days, six of the 13 pesticide metabolites measured were detected in more than 50% of the children’s urine samples, while the other seven pesticide metabolites occurred less frequently.
  • For children living in the agricultural areas, levels of certain pesticide metabolites were higher.

This study’s findings suggest that eating an organic diet may reduce children’s exposure to some pesticides. However, more research is needed to understand the health outcomes from exposure to these dietary and environmental pesticides. It’s important to note that eating conventionally grown foods is generally considered safe, and that a diet full of fruits and vegetables is a healthy choice for the entire family.

Source: Environmental Health Perspectives

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