Say what you will about buying and eating organic fruits and vegetables, but one thing is certain: Consumers can significantly reduce their intake of pesticide residues by choosing organic produce, according to researchers at Stanford University who reviewed a massive body of scientific studies on the oft-argued issue.
The debates about organic produce run rampant. Naysayers say there’s little difference between organic and “conventional” (isn’t it sad that the use of pesticides has become conventional?), backlashers complain that organic produce is merely precious food for the green elite, agriculture giants say the chemicals don’t reach consumers. But for those of us who prefer our food without the addition of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, it’s nice to have the back-up…thank you kindly, Stanford University.
The researchers looked at more than 230 field studies and 17 human studies held in the United States and Europe to compare pesticide residues, antibiotic resistance and vitamin and nutrient levels in organic and conventionally produced foods. The study was published online at The Annals of Internal Medicine.
Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at Environmental Working Group (EWG), said:
The study confirms the message that EWG and scores of public health experts have been sending for years, that consumers who eat organic fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce pesticide concentrations in their bodies. This is a particularly important finding for expectant mothers and kids, because the risks of dietary exposures to synthetic pesticides, especially organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides, are greatest during pregnancy and childhood, when the brain and nervous system are most vulnerable. These are two groups that should really avoid eating foods with high levels of pesticide residues.
Read the report here: Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?. And see what produce has the highest pesticide loads here: 12 Most Toxic Fruits and Vegetables.