Recently an article about organic vs. conventional produce got me REALLY fired up.
The claim: conventional produce is just as healthy for kids as organic, and pesticides aren’t really a big deal.
In simple terms, this is B.S.
Sure, eating fruits and vegetables of any kind is better than not eating fruits and vegetables. And conventional produce is definitely healthier than eating processed food and candy. We all agree on this.
But to say that pesticides (aka toxic chemicals that are not tested for safety before use) are no big deal? You better have some seriously good research to back that up, and this author did not. Not surprisingly, her “evidence” came largely from pesticide and chemical industry advisors who claim pesticides are safe.
The Environmental Working Group wrote a great response to the Organic Shmorganic article, detailing why organic and conventional produce are in fact different, and why children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure.
Below are just a few of the reasons I continue to believe organic produce is healthier than conventional.
7 Reasons Organic Produce is Healthier than Conventional
- Research shows that families who eat mostly organic have 90% fewer pesticides in their bodies than those who mostly consume conventional foods.
- Kids who eat organic produce for just 5 days have significantly lower pesticide levels in their urine than those who eat conventional, according to research by Dr. Alex Lu, one of the leading researchers on pesticides in this country.
- Children, especially unborn babies, are much more vulnerable to pesticides than adults. Research suggests that early pesticide exposure could lead to learning disabilities, shortened attention span, reduced IQ and possibly cancer. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the President’s Cancer Panel recommend avoiding pesticides in food whenever possible.
- We don’t have tons of research on how long-term pesticide exposure affects our health or our children’s physical development. We do know, however, that the incidence of cancers and many neurodegenerative diseases is the highest it’s ever been. Whether these are related – no one has said for sure – but who wants their kids to be the guinea pigs?
- The Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended exposure limits for pesticides could be considered somewhat arbitrary. Whose to say these limits are the final word on pesticide safety?
- Farm workers and families that live near conventional farms suffer all sorts of negative impacts from pesticide exposure. If pesticides are toxic to those who work with them, how do we know they’re safe for us to consumer over the course of our lifetime?
- Over 700 chemicals are brought to market every year. None of these are tested for safety first (though many are later deemed to be harmful to human health and then banned), so when we choose conventional products, we really have no way of knowing what’s safe or not.
Yes, organic produce (and most organic food) is more expensive, and thus out of reach for many people. But if you can afford it, organic is worth paying a little more.