Children can eliminate their bodies' loads of agricultural pesticides by eating organically grown products, a 15-day experiment suggests. The finding bolsters the case that people dining on organic food avoid potentially toxic pesticides, but it doesn't directly address whether such foods provide health benefits.
"Organic food is a viable intervention to control pesticide exposure," environmental health specialist Doug Brugge of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston says of the new study. "What you would like, in addition, is evidence that those reductions are associated with health improvements."
Pesticides known as organophosphates can cause problems in childhood neurological development. In the past decade, the U.S. government has restricted the use of many of these chemicals. However, the organophosphates malathion and chlorpyrifos are still legally used on many conventional crops.
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