Can something as simple as choosing to eat organic food really make such a difference to our health?
It makes sense that eating produce that is grown without harmful chemicals has got to be better for us, and its generally accepted that organic produce tastes great, but its often hard to stay committed to eating predominantly organic food when faced with the obstacles – organic produce is often considerably more expensive and it’s not always readily available.
It can be easy to become relaxed about the effects of chemicals in our food when going about our busy lives. Conditioned to having everything we want when we want it we often don’t think twice about eating fruit and vegetables out of season, and its easy to be seduced by the wide array of perfect looking fruits and vegetables available in our supermarkets, grown using conventional methods of production relying heavily on the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and growth hormones.
Research has shown that organic produce is definitely better for us and consuming food grown and treated with chemicals has been identified as a main cause of cancer.
In fact, according to research conducted by the US President’s Cancer Panel, choosing to eat food grown without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers is recommended as one of the easiest and most effective things that individuals can do to reduce the risk of cancer.
Testing cited in the US President’s Cancer Panel’s 2010 report showed that pesticide residue was present in more than 75% of foods, and while washing foods was recommended to reduce the presence of chemical residue, it was shown that washing alone was not a sufficient measure as chemicals were present in the whole of the produce.
It was also noted that only some 2% of more than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the US have been tested for safety, and that testing procedures were grossly inaccurate, failing to take into account the cumulative effect of repeated exposure or the effect of exposure to multiple chemicals in combination.
Of particular concern is that children are far more susceptible to damage from environmental carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting compounds than adults and the food choices made by parents and carers can have long term effects upon health.
Even newborns are affected by environmental toxins. Recent tests of umbilical cord blood have detected as many as 300 different pollutants in newborns’ bodies, with contaminants crossing the placental barrier in utero or being delivered after birth via breast milk.
Children’s cancer rates are increasing, as is the incidence of leukemia in children growing up on farms and the occurrence of cancers in workers exposed to pesticides. Yet astonishingly chemicals classified as known, possible and probable carcinogens continue to be used in pesticides that are currently on the market as governments continue to take a reactionary rather than a precautionary approach.
The good news is that testing has shown that eating organic fruit and vegetables can markedly lower the levels of pesticides found in peoples bodies, and while it may be slightly more expensive and sometimes feel inconvenient to be limited to only seasonal produce, the long term health effects could be far more costly.
Royalty free photos, Morguefile