Study Proves Eating Organic Cuts Pesticide Exposure By 89%

Date Posted:27 June 2014 

In a ground breaking adult study by RMIT University found after just seven days of eating a diet comprised of at least 80% organic food, pesticide exposure was reduced by 89% than after eating conventional food.

Organic Pesticide Free Vegetables

13 participants were randomly allocated to consume a diet of at least 80 per cent organic or 80% conventional food for seven days and then switched to the alternate diet for a further week.

The research was conducted by Dr. Liza Oates as part of her PhD project and supervised by Professor Marc Cohen from RMIT’s School of Health Sciences. It was supported in part by a donation to RMIT University from Bharat Mitra, co-founder of Organic India Pty Ltd.

Dr Oates stated "Our results show that people who switch to eating mainly organic food for just one week can dramatically reduce their exposure to pesticides, demonstrating that an organic diet has a key role to play in a precautionary approach to reducing pesticide exposure".

"Conventional food production commonly uses organophosphate pesticides, which are neurotoxins that act on the nervous system of insects - and humans - by blocking an important enzyme," said Dr Oates.

"Recent studies have raised concerns for the health effects of these chemicals even at relatively low levels."

Pesticide Spraying

Oats said "Pesticide exposure in Australian adults is mainly through their diets, but there are other sources of exposure, so we wanted to find out the difference going organic could make."

There has been a few studies examining how organic diets affected pesticide levels in children but no research had so far been published on adults. This research is the first to compare the differences in pesticide residues in adults who consume organic and conventional food. Urinary levels of six metabolites of organophosphate pesticides (known as dialkyl phosphates or DAPs) were analysed on the eighth day of each phase. The mean level of total DAP metabolites after eating a diet of at least 80% organic food was 89% lower than the levels after eating conventional food.