Another reason to support a farmer's market: a new study of 19 kids from Mercer Island Elementary schools shows significant levels of pesticide residues in kids who eat conventionally-grown versus organic food. The study, conducted over a one-year period in 2003-2004 showed that the pesticide residue disappears from these kids within a day or two of switching to organic food.
Here's the abstract (study by Chensheng Lu, Dana B. Barr, Melanie A. Pearson, and Lance A. Waller)
RESULTS: By substituting organic fresh fruits and vegetables for corresponding
conventional food items, the median urinary metabolite concentrations were reduced to
non-detected or close to non-detected levels for malathion and chlorpyrifos at the end of
5-day organic diet intervention period in both summer and fall seasons. We also
observed a seasonal effect on the OP urinary metabolite concentrations, and this
seasonality is correspondent to the consumption of fresh produce throughout the year.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings from this study demonstrate that dietary intake of OP
pesticides represents the major source of exposure in young children.
One interesting finding: pesticide levels are higher in the winter, even though the kids were eating the same amount of fruits and vegetables. One possible explanation is that they're eating non-local food. It's hard to get organic fruits/vegetables out of season, so kids switch to non-local (conventional) stuff. I think one lesson is that parents should try to get their kids to eat seasonally-grown food, rather than the same ole grapes/carrots/apples all year round.
I wish our public schools would serve organic too.
[read more in the Seattle PI]