A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives predicts that a persons pesticide exposure can be based on information about their usual diet. This study supports the belief that health-conscious people understand the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables but may not be aware of the pesticides they are ingesting.
Forty-five hundred people from six U.S. cities were analyzed for their dietary exposure to organophosphates or OPs. These OPs are the most common insecticides used on conventionally grown produce in the United States and are linked to a number of detrimental health affects particularly among agricultural workers who are regularly exposed to the chemicals.
The study also included dietary data that was collected from participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. This multi-institutional project was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute which is also investigating factors that influence the onset of cardiovascular disease.
Among those eating similar fruits and vegetables, those that consumed organic produce showed significantly lower OP pesticide exposures than those consuming conventionally grown produce.
Consuming conventionally grown foods typically treated with more of these pesticides during production such as apples, peaches and nectarines was associated with higher levels of exposure.
Researchers were able to predict each participants exposure to OP pesticides based on the amount and type of produce they typically ate as well as the U.S. Department of Agricultures measurements of pesticide residue levels on those foods.
For most Americans, diet is the primary source of OP pesticide exposure, said study leader Cynthia Curl, assistant professor in Boise State Universitys School of Allied Health Studies. The study suggests that by eating organically grown versions of those foods highest in pesticide residues, we can make a measurable difference in the levels of pesticides in our bodies. If we can predict pesticide exposure using dietary questionnaire data, then we may be able to understand the potential health effects of dietary exposure to pesticides without having to collect biological samples from people. That will allow research on organic food to be less expensive and less invasive.
Curl says that the next step is to use these exposure predictions to examine the relationship between dietary exposure to pesticides and health outcomes including neurological and cognitive endpoints. Well be able to do that in this same population of nearly 4,500 people, she continued. One way people can reduce their pesticide exposure is to eat organic versions of those foods that are listed on the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen List which ranks fruits and vegetables according to pesticide residue level.
The Dirty Dozen
The Environmental Working Group analyzed pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration to come up with rankings for these popular fresh produce items. All 48 foods are listed from worst to best: the lower the number the more pesticides. EWG analyzed pesticide tests of 48 popular produce items. Domestic and imported versions of three items - nectarines, blueberries and snap peas - showed sharply different results, so those domestic and imported items were ranked separately. As a result, the full list of foods ranked by the Shopper's Guide displays 51 entries.
7 Sweet Bell Peppers
8 Imported Nectarines
10 Cherry Tomatoes
11 Imported Snap Peas
13 Hot Peppers
14 Domestic Blueberries
16 Kale/Collard Greens
19 Domestic Nectarines
23 Imported Blueberries
24 Green Beans
25 Winter Squash
26 Summer Squash
29 Domestic Snap Peas
30 Green Onions
32 - Bananas
35 Honeydew Melons
37 Sweet Potatoes
47 Frozen Sweet Peas
50 Sweet Corn
51 - Avocados
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Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.