Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Eating organic food can lower children's vulnerability to pesticides, study says

Eating organic food can lower vulnerabilty to pesticides in Latino children in low-income agricultural regions, says a peer-reviewed study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Alison F. Takemura reports for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The study, which consisted of 40 low-income children in Northern California—20 rural children in agricultural areas in Salinas Valley and 20 urban children—"analyzed pesticides and their breakdown products in the children's urine for four days on their normal diet, seven days on an organic one and five more days after reverting to a conventional diet."

Researchers "found that traces of pesticides dropped substantially during the organic phase of the study," declining "up to 49 percent for a class of pesticides called organophosphates," Takemura writes. "But traces of pesticides were higher than in previous studies involving middle-income, suburban children, suggesting that kids from cities and farming communities may be getting exposed via their environments as well as their diets."

Researchers also found a disparity in how different demographic groups are exposed to pesticides, Takemura writes. Researchers said previous studies "have shown that organic food can slash pesticide levels to undetectable amounts in middle-income, largely white kids in suburban neighborhoods. But in the new study of poorer Latino children, levels of the chemicals lingered. The additional exposure could be coming from their environment—for example, drifting from fields nearby or sprayed to fight insect infestations in substandard housing." (Read more)

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