Eating organic produce can significantly reduce pesticide exposure during pregnancy

Photo Credit: Juan Encalada

A six-month diet interventional study recently published in the journal Environment International shows that eating mostly organic produce can significantly reduce exposure to neurotoxic pyrethroid pesticides. Human exposure to these agri-chemicals often occurs by ingesting produce contaminated with pesticide residues. Prenatal exposure to pyrethroids has been linked to behavior and developmental issues in children. Twenty pregnant women who reported to eat a conventionally produced diet participated in this diet intervention. Each participant was given a free 24-week supply of produce that was either conventionally or organically produced. Food diaries showed that 66% of produce consumed by women in the organic category was indeed organic, versus 3% for women in the conventional produce category. Urine samples were collected before and throughout the diet intervention and tested for pyrethroid pesticides. After 24 weeks, women who received organic produce had significantly lower detections of pyrethroids in their urine. This study suggests that incorporating organic produce can help reduce exposure to harmful pesticides, which can be particularly important during pregnancy.