Organic Diet Significantly Reduces Pesticide Levels

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America’s toxic burden may not be getting any lighter, but that doesn’t mean we’re defenseless in the war against toxins. There are simple steps we can take every day to protect our bodies, such as investing in household air and water filters, choosing natural cleaners and personal care products, and opting for organically grown foods whenever possible.

A recent study out of  RMIT University in Australia—one of the first studies of its kind to look at the effects of organic diets on pesticide levels in adults—found that just one week on an organic diet was shown to reduce pesticide levels by nearly 90 percent.

Dr. Liza Oates and a team of researchers followed more than a dozen adults for a period of two weeks, during which time participants spent one week on an 80% organic diet and one week on an 80% “conventional” diet. According to Dr. Oates, organophosphate pesticides—a type of neurotoxin shown to have damaging effects on the human nervous system—are used widely in conventional food production.

After each week, urine samples were taken from the participants and tested for dialkylphosphates (DAPs), which are produced in the body as it metabolizes organophosphate pesticides. Results of the study, published in the journal Environmental Research, showed urinary DAP levels were 89% lower after just a week on a primarily organic diet.

“Our results show that people who switch to eating mainly organic food for just one week can dramatically reduce their exposure to pesticides, demonstrating that an organic diet has a key role to play in a precautionary approach to reducing pesticide exposure,” said Dr. Oates. If that’s not a good incentive to go organic, I don’t know what is!

On your next trip to the market, pay attention to the fresh produce, meats and other products you put in your cart and try to “go organic” whenever possible. Yes, some organic foods can be pricey, so if you can only afford some organic check out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen™ Plus list of particularly “dirty” foods containing high levels of hazardous pesticides.