Why Should We Eat Organic Food?
We should eat organic food for
· Our own health
· The health of our community, farm communities and the health of our environment.
In this article we list multiple studies and references to support these conclusions. Then we list references to studies and articles that begin to ask the question – what does having pesticides in our body do to us? We conclude the article with references to a few tool kits to help reduce our exposure to toxics. We hope that you follow the links to read and critique the studies yourselves and follow the links to take advantage of the toolkits.
For Our Health
Below are many references to support the conclusions that:
We can significantly control the amount of pesticides in our body by eating organic food. This is supported by a study report titled “Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides” published September 1 2005 in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives. “In conclusion, we were able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposure to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agricultural production. We also concluded that these children were most likely exposed to these organophosphorus pesticides exclusively through their diet. To our knowledge this is the first study to employ a longitudinal design with a dietary intervention to assess children’s exposure to pesticides. It provides new and persuasive evidence of the effectiveness of this intervention.”
The study is by Chensheng Lu, Kathryn Toepel, Rene Irish, Richard A. Fenske, Dana B. Barr and Roberto Bravo. The research was supported by the US EPA. The authors are from
Results from a study at the University of Washington “suggest that consumption of organic fruits, vegetables, and juice can reduce children‘s exposure levels from above to below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‘s current guidelines, thereby shifting exposures from a range of uncertain risk to a range of negligible risk. Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children‘s exposure to OP pesticides.” “The median total dimethyl metabolite concentration was approximately six times higher for children with conventional diets than for children with organic diets;… mean concentrations differed by a factor of nine.” Organophosphorus Pesticide Exposure of Urban and Suburban Preschool Children with Organic and Conventional Diets Environmental Health Perspectives March 2003;111(3):377-82 by Curl, Fenske and Elgethun.
An article about the report is available at:
“The article concluded that a predominantly organic diet:
• reduces the amount of toxic chemicals ingested;
• totally avoids GMOs [genetically modified organisms];
• reduces the amount of food additives and colourings;
• increases the amount of beneficial vitamins, minerals, EFAs [essential fatty acids] and antioxidants consumed;
• appears to have the potential to lower the incidence of common conditions such as cancer, coronary heart disease, allergies and hyperactivity in children.”
“The Organic Center‘s second State of Science Review (SSR) concludes that organic farming methods have the potential to elevate average antioxidant levels, especially in fresh produce.” And adds that “Organic processing methods may also increase antioxidant levels”
Recently a team of USDA scientists reported “Organic Catsup Found to Contain More Than 50% Higher Levels of the Beneficial Antioxidant Lycopene” Source:
For The Health Of Our Community, The Farming Community And The Environment
The Organic Trade Association reports on many studies about the benefits of organic farming on our environment locally and globally:
What Is The Impact Of Reducing Our Levels Of Pesticide Exposure?
Once we conclude that eating organic foods reduces our level of pesticide exposure, the next question is: What affect do pesticides have on us and is it worth it to reduce our exposure? Although not many studies have been done to attempt to answer this question, some resources that begin to address this question are listed below. We are providing these references in an effort to define the problems that organic food and environmentally friendly products help to solve.
Why reducing pesticide exposure is smart from The Environmental Working Group
"Benefit of Organics" and "Measurable effects of pesticides in the environment" from the Organic Trade Association
Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility Patient Fact Sheet: How Chemical Exposures Affect Reproductive Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “The National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals" provides an ongoing assessment of the U.S. population‘s exposure to environmental chemicals using biomonitoring. Biomonitoring is the assessment of human exposure to chemicals by measuring the chemicals or their metabolites in human specimens such as blood or urine.”
The Pesticide Action Network North America reports on the CDC’s report in: "Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies"
BodyBurden: the pollution in people, a study led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in collaboration with the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal.
The EPA’s “America’s Children and the Environment brings together, in one place, quantitative information from a variety of sources to show trends in levels of environmental contaminants in air, water, food, and soil; concentrations of contaminants measured in the bodies of mothers and children; and childhood diseases that may be influenced by environmental factors.”
Dr. Greene comments on the EPA report in his article: America’s Children and the Environment: Measures of Contaminants, Body Burdens, and Illnesses.
Physicians for Social Responsibility’s report: In Harm‘s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development - Executive Summary “This report examines the contribution of toxic chemicals to neurodevelopmental, learning, and behavioral disabilities in children. These disabilities are clearly the result of complex interactions among genetic, environmental and social factors that impact children during vulnerable periods of development. Toxic exposures deserve special scrutiny because they are preventable causes of harm.”
Link between sperm quality and pesticide exposure in mid-west men and Pesticides Causing Infertility in the Heartland are about the same research reported in Environmental Health Perspectives.
DDT linked to preterm birth. May have caused 15% of infant mortality in US during the 1960s. an article about a study reported in the Lancet. Dr. Greene reports on the same study: Pesticide Problem Uncovered - Too Late!
A study indicates there could be a link between pesticides and weight at puberty – which could be a concern given the health problems associated with obesity: Pubertal growth and development and prenatal and lactational exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene “Height of boys at puberty increased with transplacental exposure to DDE, as did weight adjusted for height” “Girls with the highest transplacental PCB exposures were heavier for their heights than other girls” “Prenatal exposures at background levels may affect body size at puberty. (J Pediatr 2000;136:490-6)”
Dr. Greene - A Huge Idea About Organics “Pesticides have been shown to be proportionately more harmful to developing babies and children than to adults in their prime….Here’s my big thought: I suspect that, as with the flu, chemical pesticides are also much more harmful to those over 65”
The Organic Consumers Association reports on a study that indicates Pesticides Could Cause Brain Damage, The abstract of the referenced article is: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v33/n4/abs/ng1131.html
A Report Card And Toolkit To Help Everyday Decisions
From the Environmental Working Group - Report Card: Pesticides in Produce “Adjusting your eating habits can lower your intake of pesticides -- sometimes dramatically so. Substitute organic for conventional produce that is consistently contaminated with pesticides. When organic is not available, eat fruits and vegetables with consistently low pesticide loads.”
The toolkit includes: “Out of Harm’s Way: Preventing Toxic Threats to Child Development Creating a Healthy Environment for Your Child’s Development – Personal Guidelines for Parents and Future Parents”
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