Today, I received a copy of my Nutrition Action Healthletter, from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The lead article is entitled “Going Organic”. I’d like to call it “What all the articles on the Stanford study failed to mention”. There are so many reasons why sales of organic foods are growing up to 20% each year in the United States. Conducting a study on whether or not organic food tastes better is a waste of time since that is not the main reason people reach for organic options. I am posting excerpts from the article. If you would like to receive this monthly newsletter, check out the CSPI website. It is an extremely informative publication and it is short and sweet; about 15 pages.
Here is a list of the main articles in the newsletter this month:
Going Organic- What’s the payoff?
Why people overeat.
Veggie Smart: How to preserve vitamins
Food Day Favorites- Three recipes: Apple Walnut Salad, Pomegranate & Pumpkin Seed Tabouli & Greens Beans and Caramelized Shitakes
You Say Tomato… Scoring Veggies: How to fit in the recommended 11 servings a day of fruits and vegetables.
Excerpt from Going Organic- What’s the payoff?
David Schardt’s interview with Charles Benbrook, research professor at Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources. He also served as executive director of the Board on Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences.
How harmful are the traces of pesticides that are on conventional foods?
The evidence now is compelling that low-level exposure to organophosphate insecticides from food and the environment has been contributing to a suite of neurological and developmental problems, such as IQ points. These problems can be hard to measure in an individual, but are profound for society as a whole.
How extensive has the impact been?
David Bellinger of the Harvard Medical School published an important analysis looking at the risk factors that contribute to low IQs in children. He drew on high-quality studies that looked at medical conditions like preterm birth and pediatric bipolar disorder and at the environmental contaminants lead, mercury, and organophosphate insecticides.
From these studies, he estimated that prenatal exposures to organophosphate insecticides were probably causing a greater loss of IQ points among some U.S. children aged five and younger than anything other than preterm births and lead exposure.
While the risk to a given child is small, the exposure is so widespread that the risk to the population is substantial.
The harm is primarily to children?
Pound for pound, children are exposed to more pesticides than adults, and their developing bodies are more sensitive to the adverse effects of pesticides.
That’s why pesticide regulation must focus on protecting the developing fetus and protecting children, especially during the first two years of life, but also through adolescence. The brain continues to grow and the nervous system continues to develop throughout the teenage years.
What impact did chlorpyrifos have?
The kids from mothers with the highest levels of chlorpyrifos or other organophosphates during pregnancy were at greater risk for multiple developmental deficits, including slightly lower IQs when they were six to nine years old. In a similar study of California farmworkers’ families, children of mothers with the highest levels of organophosphates during pregnancy had IQs that were 7 points lower than children of mothers with the lowest levels.
Last question of the interview:
How hard would it be to lower the pesticide risks in food?
The EPA could reduce by one half or more the dietary risk in the U.S. food supply by selectively targeting jst a few pesticides applied to no more than a dozen crops. Of the 200 pesticides found on our food, just six account for 66% of the total risk. One of them is chlorpyrifos.
“The nation’s most respected nutrition advocacy group based on science.” – Boston Globe
“You’ll learn more about food safety and nutrition from Nutrition Action than any health or food magazine around.” – Newsday
“The messages Nutrition Action delivers as a respected authority are not ignored.” – The New York Times
“… influential and oft-quoted.” – Chicago Tribune