Simply eating mostly organic foods for two weeks can dramatically reduce levels of pesticides found in the human body, a study in Sweden has found.
The same study showed that members of a family who ate a conventional modern diet had high levels of pesticides in their urine.
“The results of the survey clearly show that some pesticides are absorbed into the body through diet,” a summary for the pilot study states. “By choosing organic products, it is possible by and large to avoid the consumption of these chemicals through food.”
The study was conducted by the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute — an independent research body — at the behest of the Swedish retailer Coop Sverige AB. In the study a family (the Palmbergs) agreed to eat only organic for two weeks.
The family ate a conventional diet for two weeks, and then researchers took urine samples from Mats and Anette Palmberg and their three children and found 20 different pesticides. The Palmbergs then ate organic food for two weeks and researchers discovered that nearly all of the pesticides had disappeared from their bodies.
Coop Sverige AB also made a short film about the family.
Levels of Chlormequat chloride or CCC, a pesticide used on grain, fell to undetectable levels when the family was eating organic. When they ate conventional food, levels of CCC in the children were higher than in the parents.
Levels of the herbicide 2,4 D fell to undetectable levels in most family members when they ate organic.
“The results of this study indicate that exposure to pesticides reduces when we eat organic products instead of conventionally grown food, and clarifies the significance of food as a source of exposure to chemicals,” the study found. “In this study we have been able to determine that the concentrations of selected pesticides decreased by an average of a factor of 9.5 when the family switched to organic food, which probably means that their total chemical load decreases.”
Meanwhile, a study in Denmark found that children whose mothers worked in greenhouses where chemicals like pesticides were used during the first two months of pregnancy had lower birth weight and more body fat. The same study found that girls in the studies reached puberty earlier. The children also had significantly poorer language development and long-term memory and slower motor skills than ordinary kids.
Organic food is increasingly popular in the United States. Target (America’s fourth largest retailer) is cutting back on its offerings of processed foods like Campbell’s Soup in order to make room for more organics on its shelves. Kroger, America’s largest grocer and second largest retailer, sold $1 billion worth of its Simple Truth organic and natural brand products in the first year it was on the shelves.
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