W Hen Andreyne Ferres, a mother of two children living in Auckland, California, has signed up for a study that assesses whether an organic diet can change the amount of pesticides found in her body; she did not know what researchers would find. But her family, as well as the other three participating countries, found that they all had detected levels of traceable pesticides. They also find that only six days after an organic diet, each person will see significant drop in these pesticides, including several with an increased risk of autism, cancer, parkinsonism, infertility, and other significant health effects.
"It's nice to see that only a week ago there was a sharp fall," said Ferres, seeing the results. "I would like these pesticides to come out of my body and body of my family."
This newly published peer-reviewed study helps answer the question many of us ask when deciding whether to achieve a simple or organic choice at the store: Is there really an organic difference? The results say so much difference. The choice of organic matter can protect you from the effects of toxic pesticides.
This study, conducted by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Friends of the Earth, and co-author of one of us, traced the level of pesticides in four seven countries across the country for two weeks. The first week, the seven have eaten their typical inorganic products diet; next week they ate completely organically. Samples of urine taken during the study were tested on pesticides, and chemicals pesticides break down into metabolites.
Results? Of the 14 tested chemicals, each member of each of the seven had noticeable levels. After switching to an organic diet, these levels dropped sharply. The levels of all pesticides on average decreased by more than half. Detected levels of malathion pesticide, a potential human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization data, decreased by 95%.
Malathion was just one of the pesticides found in this study, which is part of a group called organophosphates, which have long been affecting health experts because of their influence on the development of the brain in children. Created as nerve agents during the Second World War, organophosphates were associated with an increase in the incidence of autism, educational disturbances, and decreased IQ in children. Organophosphate chlorpyrifos, discovered by all members of the family, is a concern for healthcare that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) planned to ban it in 2017 – a proposal that was abolished by the Trump administration. As a result of inactivity, the Hawaiian administration adopted the first ban on chlorpyrifos at the state level in 2018; and Nidia Velasquez's representative introduced a federal bill on his prohibition.
This returns us to the cause of the organic. When you choose organically grown foods, you guarantee that they are not grown with chlorpyrifos or about 900 synthetic pesticides authorized in non-organic farming. Many of these pesticides now cause cancer, affect the hormonal system of the body, disrupt fertility, cause a developmental delay in children or Parkinson's disease, depression, or Alzheimer's disease. This study shows that the use of organic matter can significantly reduce the amount of pesticides that you are exposed to.
But we know that providing people with information about the benefits of choosing organic products is not enough. Too many of us have no choice. Today billions of our tax dollars subsidize agriculture, which intensively uses pesticides, while organic programs and research are underfunded. This mismanagement of government dollars is one of the reasons why many people all over the country still do not have access to or can not afford organic food.
Representative Alexander Ocasio-Cortes argued that in a modern, moral, prosperous society, no one should be too poor for life. We believe that in such a society, none of us should be too poor to afford foods grown without toxic chemicals and that we all have to be able to support a food chain that protects the health of farmers, agricultural workers and communities
As another mother in the study said: "Healthy should not be limited to your income, education, your race, gender, or geographical location.
Organic for everyone, is it too radical? "
Kendra Klein is a senior researcher at the Friends of the Earth-USA, a national organization that works to create a more just and healthy world. Anna Lappe is a national bestseller and co-director of Media Food Real Estate. Together they co-operated with Organic for All