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Pesticide levels drop 70% after 6 days on organic diet, US study shows

By 26 October 2020June 13th, 2022No Comments

A new study shows that urine levels of the pesticide glyphosate dropped an average of 70%after participants switched to an organic diet for just 6 days

The study, published in Environmental Research is titled Organic Diet Intervention Significantly Reduces Urinary Glyphosate Levels in U.S. Children and Adults. It was undertaken by researchers at the Health Research Institute and the nonprofit organisations Commonweal Institute and Friends of the Earth and looks at how organic diet impacts on exposure to glyphosate.

The study followed four US families from Minneapolis, Minnesota; Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; and Oakland, California. The researchers analysed urine samples from the families whilst eating their usual diet of conventional food for six days, and again whilst eating a diet of all organic food for six days.

When families went on an organic diet the amount of glyphosate in their urine decreased significantly as well as a 77% reduction in the main chemical that this pesticide breaks down to in our bodies, AMPA (aminomethyl phosphonic acid).

“It’s striking that levels of this toxic pesticide dropped so dramatically after less than a week. Given our results and related studies on how an organic diet rapidly reduces pesticide exposure, we could expect to see similar reductions in glyphosate levels in most Americans if they switched to an organic diet,” said study co-author Kendra Klein, PhD, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth. “That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of us are eating glyphosate-laden food continuously, resulting in daily doses of the chemical from breakfast through dinner.”

The findings of the study are statistically significant, despite being small sample size, and indicates that further research is required. It provides new data showing more widespread glyphosate exposure than previously assessed. The study team found glyphosate in 100% of the participants, including children as young as four, and also found the average level of glyphosate in children was approximately five times higher than in adults.

“We all have the right to food that is free of toxic pesticides,” said Klein, “but our federal regulatory system is broken and is not protecting us. We urgently need our elected leaders to make healthy organic food the norm for everyone by passing policies that support farmers to shift from pesticide-intensive to organic farming.”

“During the coronavirus pandemic, the inequities of our food system have become ever more clear,” said Sharyle Patton, Director of the Commonweal Biomonitoring Resources Center and co-author of the study. “Research shows that communities of colour are at higher risk of serious complications and death from coronavirus as a result of already suffering from higher rates of diet-related diseases. Now more than ever, we need public policies that ensure that all communities have access to healthy, organic food.”

The study authors conclude that “ Additional research is needed to evaluate dietary exposure to neonicotinoids, which are now the most widely used class of insecticides in the world.”