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.
In a report published in Environmental Research, Dr. Liza Oates and her team at RMIT University in Australia 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 that 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.
WHAT TO DO?
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, I LOVE the Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds.
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 this study out of Australia is just more evidence that adopting an organic food diet is an essential way to accomplish this.