The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Study Finds Lower Pesticide Levels in People Who Eat Organic Produce
While health-conscious individuals understand the benefits of eating fresh fruits and veggies, they may not be aware of the volume of pesticides they could be ingesting with their vitamin C and fiber. A study from the University of Washington School of Public Health is among the first to predict a person’s pesticide exposure based on information about their usual diet.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, showed that among individuals eating similar amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who reported eating organic produce had significantly lower levels of organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposures than those consuming conventionally grown produce.
“For most Americans, diet is the primary source of OP pesticide exposure,” said lead author Dr. Cynthia Curl, who conducted her research while a PhD student at the School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. “The study suggests that by eating organically grown versions of those foods highest in pesticide residues, we can make a measurable difference in the levels of pesticides in our bodies.” Dr. Curl is now an assistant professor at Boise State University’s School of Allied Health Sciences.
She and her colleagues analyzed the dietary exposure of nearly 4,500 people from six U.S. cities to organophosphates, the most common insecticides used on conventionally grown produce in the U.S. This study included dietary data collected from participants in the “Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis,” a large, multi-institutional project funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that is investigating factors that influence the onset of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers predicted each participant’s exposure to OP pesticides based on the amount and type of produce each participant typically ate and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s measurements of pesticide residue levels on those foods. The researchers then compared these predictions to pesticide metabolite levels measured in urine samples from a subset of 720 people.
“If we can predict pesticide exposure using dietary questionnaire data, then we may be able to understand the potential health effects of dietary exposure to pesticides without having to collect biological samples from people,” Curl said. “That will allow research on organic food to be both less expensive and less invasive.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are most contaminated with pesticides? That's the question that the Environmental Working Group answers every year with its "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.
Judge Blocks Oil and Gas Drilling on 300,000 Acres in Wyoming Until Government Considers Climate Impacts
Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.