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Health Team

Organic products help prevent exposure to pesticides

Posted September 4, 2012 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated September 4, 2012 6:31 p.m. EDT

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.