Study Reveals Eating Organic for One Week Reduces Toxic Pesticide Levels
As if you needed more of a reason to include more organic foods in your life.
A new peer-reviewed study, published this week in Environmental Research, shows just how imperative it is for every individual in the country to have access to healthy, organic foods. By eating only organic foods - for as little as six days - one can dramatically decrease the pesticide levels present in the body.
The study, titled Organic Diet Intervention Significantly Reduces Urinary Pesticide Levels in U.S. Children and Adults, drew its results from four diverse American families located around the country: Oakland, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Baltimore. After eating their typical diet of conventional food for six days, all four families were placed on a controlled, strict organic food diet for the following six days.
"This study shows that organic works," states study co-author and senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth (FOE) Kendra Klein, PhD. "We all have the right to food that is free of toxic pesticides. Farmers and farmworkers growing our nation's food and the rural communities they live in have a right not to be exposed to chemicals linked to cancer, autism and infertility. And the way we grow food should protect, not harm, our environment.”
According to FOE, the pesticide and pesticide metabolite levels detected in participants dropped by an average of 60.5% after only six days of eating organic foods. The findings showed significant reductions in pesticides linked to increased risks of autism, cancers, autoimmune disorders, infertility, hormone disruption, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Some of the key findings from this study include:
A 61% drop in chlorpyrifos was observed in individuals. Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxic pesticide that causes damage to the developing brains of children. Exposure to this pesticide is associated with an increased risk of autism, learning disabilities, ADHD and IQ loss.
A 95% decrease in malathion was observed, which is another neurotoxic organophosphate pesticide. According to the World Health Organization, malathion is a probable carcinogen in humans.
An 83% drop in clothianidin was discovered, which is a neonicotinoid pesticide. These pesticides are linked to endocrine disruption and changes in behavior/attention, which includes a correlation with autism spectrum disorder. Additionally, neonicotinoids are a main cause of massive pollinator and insect losses.
A 43-57% decrease in pyrethroids was also observed. This class of pesticides is also linked to endocrine disruption, in addition to adverse neurodevelopmental, immunological and reproductive effects.
A 37% drop in 2,4-D levels was discovered. Never heard of 2,4-D? It’s one of two ingredients used in Agent Orange, a.k.a that terrible substance used by the U.S. in the Vietnam war that continues to cause horrible health issues and many deaths. 2,4-D is also one of the most commonly used pesticides in the country. It’s linked to endocrine disruption, thyroid disorders, increased risks of Parkinson’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, developmental and reproductive toxicity, among other health issues.
Tara, one of the participants in the study, is right on the money when she says: "Everyone has the right to clean organic food. That is a human right.” The findings in this study are groundbreaking for those critical of an industrial food system relying heavily on synthetic toxins and chemicals to grow crops and raise livestock.
To learn more about the study’s participants and the researchers behind it, check out this informative video from the Friends of the Earth:
"This important study shows how quickly we can rid our bodies of toxic pesticides by choosing organic," says Sharyle Patton, co-author of the study and director of the Commonweal Biomonitoring Resources Center. "Congratulations to the families who participated in the study and their willingness to tell their stories in support of creating a food system where organic is available to all."
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