Another Reason to Eat Organic – Decrease Pesticide Exposure by 90%

Catering food at a wedding party - a series of RESTAURANT images.

Here are a few things that we know.

1) In its pioneering testing several years ago, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) identified up to 493 chemicals in Americans of all ages, including 287 industrial chemical pollutants found in the cord blood of 10 babies born in 2004.

So, from the time we are in the womb of our mother, our body is flooded with synthetic toxins.

2) Even though this EWG data was collected a decade ago, not much has changed since then, in terms of our exposure to chemicals.

This is largely because consumers remain completely unprotected when chemical companies bring a new product to market.

The nation’s toxic chemical regulatory law, The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, allows chemicals on the market without meaningful safety assessments and gives the Environmental Protection Agency almost no authority to protect the public health.


Given that our government deems the profits of chemical companies to be more important than the health of its citizens, is it any surprise that 41% of Americans will get cancer and 21% of Americans will die from cancer?

Not to the President’s Cancer Panel.

In its annual report called “Reducing our Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now”, the President’s Cancer Panel, among other things, recommends that in order to decrease exposure to pesticides, individuals should choose “food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers”.

Previous studies have shown that children who switch to an organic diet will reduce their pesticide load, but no similar study has been completed with adults.

Until now.

In a report published in Environmental Research, Dr. Liza Oates and her team at RMIT University in Australia found found that people who adopted an organic diet for one week saw an incredible 90% reduction in pesticide exposure.

The randomly selected 13 adults were fed both an organic diet and a non-organic diet, and urine samples were taken to determine the presence of dialkylphosphates, a class of chemicals which are produced as the body tries to break down organophosphate pesticides.

In case you are not familiar with organophosphate pesticides, they are some of the most widely used chemicals sprayed on food today.

What harm do they cause?

According to the Pesticide Action Network, long-term exposure to organophosphates has been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and serious reproductive and developmental problems.


Clearly, switching to an organic diet will greatly help to decrease pesticide exposure. (Make sure you read this post – Should You ALWAYS Eat Organic? – to help guide you and answer any questions that you may have.)

While food plays a big role in reducing pesticide loads in your body, it is not the only thing that we need to be paying attention to.

Other areas of chemical exposure are household cleaning products and body care products.

One great resource for body care products is EWG’s Skin Deep Database, which provides safety and other information on nearly 70,000 personal care products.

In terms of household cleaning products, my absolute favorite is the Liquid Sunshine concentrate from Vermont Soap Organics. I LOVE it and have gotten many of my friends to use it as well.

It is 100% free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), contains no chemical or synthetic ingredients, and can be used for dishes, floors, walls, laundry, bathrooms, and general cleaning.


While our bodies will never be 100% chemical-free, it is important that we take the necessary precautions to reduce our pesticide exposure as much as possible.

And the new study out of Australia is just more evidence that adopting an organic food diet is an essential way to accomplish this.


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  • says:

    Choose perennials that slugs are not vulnerable to attack by slugs.
    It is best to avoid direct sunlight for most all plants.
    And take care of your kids. And whatever happened to the friendly idea of having “your very own garden”.
    More comprehensive tillage refers to the soil,
    which is better for the environment with fewer chemicals.

  • Charles Sutherland says:

    GMO ‘food products’ are “scientifically created to be poisonous” — to kill weeds and insects, but the pesticides are inserted INTO the crops AND the GMO crops are designed to ABSORB other pesticides. Then we eat them! Although I am not in the food industry, I just summarized global research on this matter in a Handbook called “GMO Food Poison Handbook.” Pesticide use is increasing dramatically!

  • Rick Smith says:

    While a common sense litany like above supposedly puts a balance to the issue, there are some facts that are often either ignored or are tangentially referenced. The reality is that the use of pesiticides has proven to enhance food production such that economical abundance is now, for the most part, a given. Organically produced food has never been, nor ever will be, as efficient or cost effective. So I suppose idealism in this reference isn’t meant for those who are less fortunate. Hmm, doesn’t seem to fair socially to me.

    Oh yes, and many years ago (the 80’s) when the Big Green movement in California was building its head of steam condemening the pesiticide industry, the Surgeon General of the US at the time (Dr. Everett Koop) made it clear that pesiticide residues were not a primary causative factor in cancer etiology. Why? The abundance of economically available fresh fruits and vegetables all year long in the american diet had been put forth as a factor in the reason why deaths from GI cancers had decilined. Dr. Koop commented that were pesiticide residues a hazard he would have expected those disease entities to have increased. Are we seeing an inconsistency here yet? And as a biochemist, I do not support unregulated use ot these products and believe that residue limits and use patterns should be regulated, and a robust testing and regulatory system remain the conscience of the food production/agriculture system.

    I talso otally agree that if you can afford organic and wish to follow that mantra do it … I just don’t think we gain much by scaring parts of society who do not have the wherewithal to follow that path.

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