NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Pesticide Levels in Children Drop When they Eat Organic Produce

March 28, 2003

Children who consume organic fruits and vegetables have only one-sixth the level of pesticide byproducts in their urine as children who eat conventionally farmed foods, according to a study from the University of Washington. But researchers refuse to say whether that makes them healthier.

  • The study showed that an organic diet could, under some circumstances, decrease a child's pesticide exposure from above the amounts considered to be of negligible risk by the Environmental Protection Agency to levels below.
  • Use of pesticides in the home did not appear to play a significant role in the levels of exposure in the children, the researchers reported.
  • Experts say it is impossible to escape exposure to pesticides without avoiding fruits and vegetables completely -- since plants produce them naturally in their leaves or fruit to protect themselves.

Though many people assume trace elements of pesticides in the diet must be dangerous, others say evidence of danger is sketchy, at best.

Source: Carol Kaesuk Yoon, "Exposure to Pesticides Is Lowered When Young Children Go Organic," March 25, 2003, New York Times.

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