Eating Organic Food Lowers Pesticide Exposure (Comprehensive Study Confirms What Organic Foodies Already Know)

Eating Organic Food Lowers Pesticide Exposure

If you question spending a little more on organic food at the farmers market or supermarket, you might not want to give it a second thought – in fact, you might want to rearrange your budget to make that spending possible.

That’s because a new study, published in the recent journal Environmental Health Perspectives, confirms that organic food—which by definition cannot contain pesticides—is in fact a healthy way to avoid exposure to the agricultural chemicals linked with negative health and environmental effects.

University of Washington researchers reviewed data collected on more than 4,400 adult participants along with other data on pesticides and food. In a nutshell, the researchers noticed a striking correlation between the people who said they regularly consume organic fruits and vegetables and decreased levels of organophosphate pesticides in the subjects’ urine samples. Organophosphates are among the most common chemicals applied to non-organic crops.

For the subjects who said they “often” or even “always” consume organic fruits and vegetables, the level of organophosphates were 65 percent lower than in the subjects who did not consume organic food.

According to the researchers, the results of this study “do not suggest unacceptable risk” from exposure to organophosphate pesticides in conventionally grown produce, “even for people with the highest exposure levels,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Of course, not all fruits and vegetables are grown the same, and many conventionally raised crops are lower in pesticide use than others. The Environmental Working Group releases its annual “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists of produce with the highest and lowest amounts of pesticide residue based on U.S. government data.

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Image: Mr. TinDC

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.