ORGANIC FOOD REDUCES PARENTS’ & BABY’S PESTICIDE EXPOSURE
It has been found that just one week of organic food can reduce Organophosphate Pesticides by 90%.
According to a review by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering on Pesticide Use in Australia,1 one of the most widely used groups of pesticides in Australia is organophosphates (OP). This class of insecticides acts by irreversibly inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme critical to nerve function in humans.2 Numerous researchers agree there is currently little data on the health effects of chronic, low-dose OP exposure.1,3 As a result, it is not surprising that an increased level of scrutiny is required.
A recent prospective, randomised, single-blinded, crossover study was conducted to compare the levels of organophosphate metabolites in the urine of adults after a week of consuming organic foods compared to a week of consuming non-organic foods.2 As expected, a significant decrease in pesticide metabolites was observed from organic food choices.
Interestingly, however, the researchers found OP metabolites declined by nearly 90% after 7 days, suggesting most ingested OP pesticides are metabolised and excreted within this time. These findings were supported by previous studies on children,4 strengthening the clinical relevance and providing practitioners and patients a practical way to minimise exposure as part of a precautionary approach.
Some OP Residues Still Detected
Although the pesticide metabolite levels were dramatically lower in the organic phase, residues were still detected in some samples. The authors reported there are several possible explanations for this, most likely including non-food sources of organophosphates.2 Based off these investigations, clinicians can incorporate an holistic approach for supporting healthy pregnancies in practice: Organic food choices, good quality diets and clear disclosure of exactly what their vitamin and mineral supplements contain.
1. Radcliffe J. Pesticide Use in Australia – A review undertaken by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences. Aust Acadamy Technol Sci Eng. 2002:1-336. http://www.atse.org.au/Documents/Publications/Reports/Climate Change/Pesticide Use in Aust 2002.pdf.
2. Oates L, Cohen M, Braun L, Schembri A, Taskova R. Reduction in urinary organophosphate pesticide metabolites in adults after a week-long organic diet. Environ Res. 2014;132:105-111. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2014.03.021.
3. Cohen M. Environmental toxins and health-The health impact of pesticides. Aust Fam Physician. 2007;36(12):1002-1004.
4. Lu C, Toepel K, Irish R, Fenske RA, Barr DB, Bravo R. Organic diets significantly lower children’s dietary exposure to organophosphorus pesticides. Environ Health Perspect. 2006;114(2):260-263. doi:10.1289/ehp.8418.
Article thanks to BioConcepts Nutritional Insights
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