I’ve always thought that the whole organic food movement was a bunch of hippie BS. I thought that there was no real proof that pesticides really made it into our diet, or that feeding animals with steroids and antibiotics was going to cause us any harm. I also justified my views with the idea that just because something is labeled “organic” doesn’t mean it truly is.
However, a concerning article in Pediatrics about pesticides and ADHD was published Monday. The article studied over 1000 kids ages 8-15 and measured metabolites of a common pesticide in their urine. They found that kids with higher levels of pesticide metabolites in their urine had a higher chance of having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While the study is a cross sectional study, it does seem to support the theory that pesticide levels that are common in kids’ diets can have a real affect on neurologic development.
There have also been some studies to show that most of the pesticide levels found in kids’ bodies comes from diet. Studies have also shown that eating organic foods lowers pesticide levels in kids.
While the studies should be replicated, it does appear to me there is enough evidence that I no longer want to give the little F’ers non-organic fruits/vegetables. All this time we’ve been encouraging our kids to eat “healthy”, we may have actually been doing some harm.
After doing some reading about pesticides in foods, it appears there are some foods much more likely to retain the pesticides. There is a list of the 12 worst and 15 best foods when it comes to pesticides.
The worst 12 are celery, peaches, strawberries, applies, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, and grapes (imported).
The best 15 are onions, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potato, and honeydew melon.
The levels were measured based on how the food is typically eaten – peeled or not, etc.
Unfortunately, it’s hard enough to get kids to eat fruits and vegies to begin with. Trying to steer my kids to the “clean 15” is not likely to happen beyond what they already eat. My kids are big on apples, grapes, strawberries, and honeydew. Interestingly, my kids like their apples peeled – which is fine from a pesticide standpoint, but a lot of the nutrition is in the peel.
I think my best option is to go organic for apples, grapes, and strawberries. I’m assuming the cost will be higher, but more of a concern to me is whether something labeled “organic” is truly going to have less pesticides. Luckily, one of my favorite “journals” has a free summary of their study: Consumers Union study shows organic foods have fewer pesticides.
I’m actually on my way out to find a good organic produce store in my area. Hopefully the search goes well!