Organic food reduces pesticide in urine

Levels of pesticide in urine are significantly lower among people who follow an organic diet, a new study has found. The latest findings support previous research that ecological food minimises exposure to damaging chemicals.

People who eat organic food excrete significantly lower traces of pesticide in their urine, a study conducted by Greenpeace Japan has revealed.

The study, which followed two Japanese families, found that the effect was most pronounced for exposure to the pesticides organophosphate, pyrethroids and glyphosate.

“The study demonstrates how switching from a conventional diet to an organic diet can reduce the amount of pesticides in the body,” commented Professor Thomas Göen of the Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany, in a statement.

The families recruited for the study, both with two children, ate a conventional diet for five days and then switched to an organic diet for 10 days. Samples of their urine were taken at three times during the study.

The study investigated the urinary levels of six types of pesticides, including organophosphates, pyrethroids, carbamates, neonicotinoids, phenoxy herbicides and glyphosate, and the substances produced after they have been metabolised in urine.

In the adults, DAP, an organophosphate, reduced from over 30 micrograms per litre before the eco period to less than 10 afterwards. The results among the children showed a similarly striking decrease.

“Ecological food that is locally grown, without agrochemicals and antibiotics, can minimise exposure to chemicals, as well as any risks like those associated with glyphosate – a probable carcinogen,” explained Davin Hutchins of Greenpeace.

He added that eco food could also connect people to a more natural food system, where farmers take care of the food they produce and the environment that they produce it in.

Greenpeace, which is calling on governments and companies to start investing more in ecological food, highlighted that such foodstuffs prioritise the cultivation of biodiverse, seasonal crops, rather than monocultures like corn and soy, which are used in processed food.


Image credit: Health Gauge/ CC BY 2.0


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