The Swedish Environmental Research Institute and Swedish grocery store chain Coop recently asked a family of five to switch to a completely organic diet for two weeks, taking urine samples to record the quantities of pesticides present in their bodies before and after.
The initial tests showed the presence of insecticides, fungicides and plant growth regulators. For two weeks, the family kept their diet relatively steady but swapped all organic products for their conventional picks.
The results at the end of the study showed a dramatic drop in nearly all pesticide-related chemicals- most of which disappeared completely. Pictured above are the results for the family’s three children.
The health implications of consuming pesticides are a tough nut to crack, since we all eat different combinations of pesticides and the health effects of those combinations are just plain unknown (chemicals are tested individually, but they can interact in the body). Also, pesticide “tolerances” (what the body is able to deal with and flush) differ among people and are different for kids, but the standards are set for adults. Here’s what the Environmental Working Group, a food watchdog nonprofit organization, says about pesticides in our bodies (read more at their site if you’re not sure about why you should be concerned about pesticides on foods):
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national biomonitoring program has detected pesticides in blood and urine samples from 96 percent of more than 5,000 Americans age 6 and older (CDC 2009b).
The agency reported finding 21 chemical biomarkers corresponding to 28 pesticides that can contaminate fresh fruits and vegetables, according to an EWG analysis of CDC and EPA data. More than 60 percent of Americans tested positive for seven or more of these pesticides and pesticide metabolites.
The family in the video voiced cost as their main barrier to eating organic consistently. Is it a viable option for you or your family? Do the potential long term health benefits outweigh the price difference?