Organic Agriculture Minimizes Children’s Exposure to Toxic Pesticides
A study to assess preschool children’s organophosphorus pesticide exposure in the Seattle Metropolitan area made an interesting discovery: the only child whose urine contained no measurable pesticide metabolites lives in a family that buys exclusively organic produce and does not use any pesticides at home. In the study conducted by the University of Washington Department of Environmental Health, urine samples were collected from 96 children during the spring and fall. In the study, 83 children had at least one measurable dialkylphosphate (DAP) metabolite in the spring sampling, while 88 had at least one measurable DAP metabolite in the fall sampling. Only 1 child—the one whose parents bought exclusively organic produce--had no metabolites in both samples. Source: “Biological Monitoring Survey of Organophosphorus Pesticide Exposure among Preschool Children in the Seattle Metropolitan area,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 109, No. 3, March 2001, pp. 299-303.
“Pesticides pose special concerns to children because of their high metabolisms and low body weights. More than 1 million children between the ages of 1 and 5 ingest at least 15 pesticides every day from fruits and vegetables. More than 600,000 of these children eat a dose of organophosphate insecticides that the federal government considers unsafe, and 61,000 eat doses that exceed benchmark levels by a factor of 10 or more.” Source: Food for Thought: The Case for Reforming Farm Programs to Preserve the Environment and Help Family Farmers, Ranchers and Foresters, pages 12-13, www.environmentaldefense.org/pubs/Reports. Original source: Environmental Working Group, “Overexposed: Organophosphate Insecticides in Children’s Food,” 1998, pp. 1-3.