In surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and others, 90 percent or more of the children tested had insecticide metabolites in their urine and blood.
Protect Little Ones
Infants are unable to detoxify most pesticides, making their developing brains and nervous systems particularly vulnerable to these neurotoxins. “Prenatal and childhood exposures to pesticides have emerged as a significant risk factor explaining impacts on brain structure that can increase the risk of neurological disease later in life,” a recent report by the Organic Center concludes.
Early exposure to organochlorine and organophosphate (OP) insecticides has been linked to disease development later in life, including leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Children through age thirteen, particularly one- to two-year-olds, tend to be exposed to the highest levels of pesticides per pound of body weight.
Research confirms the relationship between diet and pesticide exposure in children. An organic diet “provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposure to OP pesticides,” finds a study published by the National Institutes of Health. The Organic Center recommends choosing only organic fruits and veggies when planning a family and raising children. Consumers can also urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote organic foods in school lunches and other government nutrition programs.
. . . And the Environment
Toxic and persistent pesticides applied in conventional agriculture can remain in soil for 20 years or more, and tainted irrigation water is one cause of cross-contamination between farms. The U.S. Geological Survey found that about half of sampled groundwater contained at least one pesticide—including the long-banned DDT and dieldrin. Organic production prohibits toxic, persistent pesticides and relies largely on natural pest control methods—supporting healthy soil and groundwater for ourselves, our children, and generations to come.