A NEW study by scientists in Australia shows that eating an organic diet fort just one week can reduce pesticide levels in adults by 90%.
The study, carried out at RMIT University, is the first to compare the differences in pesticide residues in adults who consume organic and conventional food.
Published in the journal Environmental Research, the study found that one week of eating mostly organic food reduced organophosphate pesticide levels in urine by 89 per cent.
Lead investigator Dr Liza Oates, from the School of Health Sciences, said there had been a few studies examining how organic diets affected pesticide levels in children but no research had so far been published on adults.
“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,” Dr Oates said.
“Recent studies have raised concerns for the health effects of these chemicals even at relatively low levels.
“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.
“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.