More research shows that an organic diet can reduce exposure to some pesticides

Photo credit: muammerokumus Photo credit: muammerokumus

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH), the University of Maryland’s Institute for Applied Environmental Health, and Emory University’s, Rollins School of Public Health recently published a paper showing that eating an organic diet reduces the exposure to some pesticides in young children.  The study looked at 40 Mexican-American children between the ages of 3 to 6 years old, living in urban and agricultural communities in California.  Children were fed a diet of organic food for a week, in between periods of eating a conventional diet, to examine the effects or an organic diet on 23 metabolites reflecting potential exposure to indoor and agricultural pesticides.  The researchers found that concentrations of metabolites of non-specific organophosphate (OP) insecticides (total dialkylphosphates (DAPs) and dimethyl DAPs) and 2,4-D herbicides were significantly lower during the organic diet phase compared to conventional diets.  However, metabolite concentrations for pyrethroids, diethyl OP pesticides, and the herbicide metolachlor were not lowered by an organic diet, and several compound-specific OP pesticide metabolites had low detection frequencies, indicating that diet was not an important exposure source.  One of the reasons that pyrethroid metabolites were not affected by diet could be that pyrethroids are primarily used as urban pesticides around homes and not commonly applied to food crops.

The study concludes that “in general, an organic diet was associated with lower levels of frequently detected metabolites for all children.”