Studies Involving Toxic Exposure from Non-Organic Foods
Earlier this year, I wrote about a study which compared the nutritional value of organic versus non-organic foods (go to this link to see the previous post). The study out of Stanford University when publicly disclosed touted the indifference between the two without mention of the toxic variable.
Studies like the following written in David Servan-Schreiber’s “Anti Cancer, A New Way of Life,” are the ones consumers need to consider to consider when evaluating the safety of the food they and their children eat.
At the University of Washington, a young researcher, Cynthia Curl, PhD, questioned whether the organic food her friends gave their children was really healthier. She succeeded in organizing a study of forty-two children aged two t0 five by contacting families as they were leaving either a conventional supermarket or an organic co-op. For three days, the parents had to write down exactly what they gave their children to eat or drink. Their diet was considered “organic” if more than 75 percent of their food was labeled organic, and it was considered “conventional” if more than 75 percent of their food was not. Curl then measured the traces of organochlorine pesticides (the most
common kind) in the children’s urine. She found that the level of pesticides in the “organic” children’s urine was distinctly below the maximum fixed by the Environmental Protection Agency. It was also one sixth that of the “conventional” children. For the children on the conventional diet, the level found was four times higher than the official safety limit. Clearly, organic food made a big difference, since toxicity levels were substantially lower.
As reported by the New York Times, reactions to Curl’s results were fortunately typical. David Klurfeld, PhD, a reputable nutritionist at Wayne State University in Detroit, argued that there was no clear view of the impact these amounts of pesticide on health: “I’m not saying there is no possible health hazard. But we have to be realistic and that means not to panic over any of this. I would not change any of my or my family’s eating
habits based on this study.”
However, there are specialists who see things in a different light. In the Department of Environmental Studies at Yale, John Wargo, PhD, has been watching the impact of environmental changes on children’s health for years.
His reaction was just the opposite: “This justifies the importance of an
‘organic’ diet, and shows that organic foods lower a child’s exposure. Industry people are saying ‘show me the dead bodies.’ I don’t want them gambling with my kids that way.”
Since then, a second study from the same university has backed up the original findings. Twenty-three children were first tested after following a conventional diet for several days. Their urine showed the presence of pesticides.
These same children then consumed organic foods exclusively. In a few days,all traces of pesticides had vanished from their urine. When they resumed a conventional diet, the level of pesticides initially seen in their urine rapidly returned.
Suppose there were a product you could simply sprinkle on a steak, on a fruit, or in a glass of milk. By changing color, a single drop of this product would reveal the presence of pesticides. Overnight, the food industry would have to change its practices radically to meet the most elementary precautionary principle in dealing with the questionable substances introduced in our food since 1940. But these toxic substances are odorless, colorless, and tasteless Are they “acceptable” simply because they are hidden? Is this a concern only for those of us already affected once by cancer?
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