Amelie Bieringer, M.Sc., Nutritionist
In the past, several studies have shown that diet is a major contributor to total pesticide exposure1,2. Exposure to pesticides is associated with a variety of health issues, such as low IQ3, an increase in attention and behavioural problems in children4, asthma5, cancer6, or body weight issues and metabolic disorders7. Compared to food from conventional farming, organic food has been shown to contain fewer pesticides8.
A study by Hyland et al. (2019) investigated whether exposure to pesticides can be reduced by switching from a conventional diet to an organic diet.
The study involved4 American families (adults and children aged 3 years and older) who usually consume conventionally produced foods. The study lasted a total of 12 days. For the first 6 days, the families maintained their usual conventional diet. For the next 6 days, the families consumed exclusively organic foods. Urine samples were collected every day and analysed for 18 different pesticide metabolites and their original structures. Pesticide residues in the families’ urine samples were compared – before switching diets vs. after switching diets. A total of 158 urine samples from 16 subjects were analysed.
The consumption of organic food could be related to a significant reduction in the excretion of pesticide metabolites and their original structures. This shows that an organic diet has reduced exposure to pesticides in children and adults.