If you think switching to organic foods won’t much of an impact on your overall body burden of accumulated toxins, a recent study out of RMIT University in Australia may have you singing a new tune. In one of the first studies of its kind to look at the effects of organic diets on pesticide levels in adults, just one week on an organic diet was shown to reduce pesticide levels by nearly 90 percent.
Dr. Liza Oates and a team of researchers followed more than a dozen adults for a period of two weeks, during which time participants spent one week on an 80% organic diet and one week on an 80% “conventional” diet. According to Dr. Oates, organophosphate pesticides—a type of neurotoxin shown to have damaging effects on the human nervous system—are used widely in conventional food production.
After each week, urine samples were taken from the participants and tested for dialkylphosphates (DAPs), which are produced in the body as it metabolizes organophosphate pesticides. Results of the study, published last month in the journal Environmental Research, showed urinary DAP levels were 89% lower after just a week on a primarily organic diet.
“Our results show that people who switch to eating mainly organic food for just one week can dramatically reduce their exposure to pesticides, demonstrating that an organic diet has a key role to play in a precautionary approach to reducing pesticide exposure,” said Dr. Oates. A follow-up study is underway.