Health Team

Organic products help prevent exposure to pesticides

Posted September 4, 2012

Organic fruits and vegetables are prominently displayed in many grocery stores, and many consumers choose them because they believe they are healthier to eat. But there is little nutritional difference between organic and regular foods. 

According to new research conducted by scientists at Stanford University, however, organic foods do offer a significantly lower risk of pesticide contamination. 

In fact, organic fruits and veggies had a 30 percent lower risk.

Despite the significant difference, researchers did not find that organic fruits and vegetables were exceptionally better than normal produce, much of which is also within safe limits.

Lisa Cimperman, a clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio, said the nutrition difference shouldn't push consumers to buy organic products. 

"Nutrition and safety are not reasons to buy organic," Cimperman said. "However, you may have other reasons to buy organic, such as personal preference, you may think they test better, you may have a concern that it's more environmentally appropriate or humane in terms of livestock." 

Whatever the reason, many families continue to make the switch to organic products. 

Lucia Alfano said her family buys organic fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat hoping to cut down on pesticide exposure. The extra cost doesn't turn them away. 

"To grow healthier without so much bad exposure to these chemicals," she said. 

Researchers said both organic and normal products should still be washed well before being eaten.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • albegadeep Sep 6, 2012

    "researchers did not find that organic fruits and vegetables were exceptionally better than normal produce, much of which is also within safe limits."

    In other words, the levels of pesticide and other chemicals found in non-organic produce are not enough to be a problem. Yes, there's more than in organic, but still not enough to be of concern.

  • aimfire Sep 6, 2012

    ImaBee, thanks for the I am stressed! ha ha But, the organics that I buy HAVE to be better than non! I'm going to "go with that" :-)

  • ImaBee Sep 6, 2012

    DontAnnoyMe... Thats fine if you want to stick your head in the sand and think that the produce you buy from fresh market that comes from the 1000+ acre organic farm and cost 3 times more doesn't contain any "organic" pesticide chemicals.

  • DontAnnoyMe Sep 5, 2012

    It is also a requirement of organic food that the heavy duty pesticides can't be used until Integrated Pest Management fails. And as far as testing, the EPA/FDA says Roundup is no problem. Hahaha.

  • Hammerhead Sep 5, 2012

    Thanks ImaBee.

  • ImaBee Sep 5, 2012

    Hammerhead... The only requirement for USDA organic is that the chemicals used are not man-made. There are several "organic chemicals" that are used on crops. It is a common misconception that organic food is chemical free. I have attached a link from Berkeley below in case you are interested. Also, I am not a beekeeper but I bet the raw honey does taste pretty good. I work for an agricultural company.

  • Hammerhead Sep 5, 2012

    ImaBee, I think one of the requirements of organic is that it must be free of pesticides, unless of course, people skirt the certification. Not sure myself. I don't turn my nose up at non-organic, just that on my own property, I use no chemicals since they are not necessary. Are you a beekeeper? I have 5 hives total, and love raw honey, but harvest very little so the bees can survive more naturally.

  • ImaBee Sep 5, 2012

    aimfire.... I hope you grow all of your organic food like hammerhead does. Otherwise your organic food can still be sprayed with chemicals that are found naturally (i.e not synthesized in a lab). These chemicals tend be more dangerous than those synthesized in the lab because their effects are not studied and tested like those made in the lab. So just because it is organic does not mean that chemicals have not been used on it.

  • Hammerhead Sep 5, 2012

    The amount of money I save on growing my own food and doing my own landscaping far exceeds any cost of extravagance of higher quality groceries. I grow nearly everything from seed, which costs a couple of pennies per plant. I look forward to clipping my lawn since it is a lot of biomass for the composting corral. And that biomass is chemical free.

  • Hammerhead Sep 5, 2012

    aimfire is correct. I grow everything at my house "organically", no pesticides or non-natural fertilizers. The birds take care of the bugs, and I've never had a bad infestation of anything. Fertilizer is either compost or tillage or fish emulsion. I encourage birds to live in my yard, especially around my gardens, by giving them cover and houses. Rotate crops and make sure the soil is attractive to worms and other soil organisms. The pesticides also affect the living creatures that make your land more fertile, not just the produce. Oh yeah, some beehives help also, yet another reason not use chemicals, as bees are adversely affected in a big way.
    Oragnic is Old School.