Eating Organic Food For One Week Eliminates 90% of Pesticides in Adults

Capay heirloom tomatoes at Slow Food NationThe organic food lobby should be all over this study. Who wants pesticides in their bodies after all? From MedicalXpress/The Conversation:

Eating an organic diet for a week can cause pesticide levels to drop by almost 90% in adults, research from RMIT University has found.

The study, led by Dr Liza Oates found particpants’ urinary dialkylphosphates (DAPs) measurements were 89% lower when they ate an organic diet for seven days compared to a conventional diet for the same amount of time. DAPs make up 70% to 80% of organophosphate pesticides.

Dr Oates said having the same people experience a large drop in organophosphate pesticide levels when consuming organic foods as opposed to conventional foods suggested most of these pesticides come from food consumption. However, she recognised it could come from other sources.

“The people in the organic phase (of the study) still did have some exposure, so there are obviously some alternate routes of exposure,” she said.

This idea was supported by University of Adelaide toxicologist Dr Ian Musgrave.

“We’re exposed to pesticide residues in a number of ways,” he said.

“The study is quite good in the way they exposed food exposure, but the possibility is there are other explanations for why they’re seeing this.”

Dr Musgrave said people who lived outside of urban areas often had higher exposures to pesticide, despite the fact that they were less likely to be consuming vast quantities of pesticide-contaminated food.

Dr Oates said people can be exposed to pesticides through inhalation and skin absorption.

“There is some emerging research suggesting some links between chronic low-dose exposure to OPs and some issues with the nervous system and that’s not surprising because the activities of these agents is they are toxic to the nervous system to humans,” she said.

“A lot of these agents were initially developed as nerve gases for chemical warfare, so we do know they have toxic effects on the nervous system at high doses.

“What’s less clear is at what dose they’re considered to be completely safe and that’s probably very different for different individuals depending on other factors like their ability to eliminate and detoxify these chemicals.”

Dr Musgrave said pesticide exposure was not a concern for many Australians.

“More than half of these people had no detectable pesticides in them or no quantifiable pesticides so the risk is already fairly low.

“The levels we see in urinary excretions from a variety of Australian populations suggests that the vast majority of people who are not working in industrial occupations that involve spaying of OPs are exposed to well below this no-effect level.”

University of New South Wales visiting fellow and nutritionist Rosemary Stanton said the study may indicate organic food is a healthier option.

“It could if repeated in a much larger sample with more details,” she said.

Evidence is being published to support organic food production.”

Dr Oates said the participants’ diets were rigorously kept in check.

“We had a fairly detailed diet diary which we had previously piloted on another group of people.

“We asked people if their sources were certified organic or “likely organic”.

“During the organic phase the participants consumed, on average, 93% organicfood. That includes certified and “likely organic” sources.”

Dr Oates said 83% of the participants’ organic diets were made up of certified organic food, meaning only 10% was “likely organic” food.


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)

57 Comments on "Eating Organic Food For One Week Eliminates 90% of Pesticides in Adults"

  1. Since, according to epidemiological studies on the subject, eliminating 90% of pesticides from you body doesn’t lead to better health outcomes the only real impact of this change is going to be to your wallet.

    • Fusionism | Jun 2, 2014 at 7:56 pm |

      Can you share your sources on that? Sounds hard to believe…

    • Lol. Yea I can see it now.

      “This just in: scientists discover that decreasing the amount of poisons in your body that kill insects and plants actually will have detrimental effects on your health and decrease your quality of life. Its science…

      study paid for by Monsanto Corporation- a company that cares and places your health before profit”

      • A poison is determined by the dose, not the substance. Toxicology 101.

        • Grade: D-

          What makes a dose lethal depends on the substance.

        • Also toxicity 101: long term exposure aka chronic exposure to a toxic substance. You have just been scienced.

          • Organic compounds break down with time, thats what our livers are for.

          • It doesnt take much common sense to realize if you constantly keep consuming the same toxins the body and liver cannot keep up. And the fact you think glysophate and other pesticides are “organic compounds” means you clearly have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

          • But there’s no indication that we arent metabolizing toxins in our environment.

            And the fact you think glysophate and other pesticides are “organic compounds” means you clearly have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

            glysophate : C3H8NO5P

            organic compound: any of a large class of chemical compounds in which one or more atoms of carbon are covalently linked to atoms of other elements, most commonly hydrogen, oxygen, or nitrogen.

          • The higher incidence of illness and disease in more polluted areas is an indication.

          • emperorreagan | Jun 3, 2014 at 11:02 am |

            What, like some of the Parkinson’s Disease studies that have been published?

            Those are all myths published by luddites.

          • Correlation is not causation.

          • True, but correlation is an indication that causation may exist. You said there is no indication, and there is.

          • Sometimes it is.

          • Jin The Ninja | Jun 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm |

            “to pretend that you are some kind of rational individual who weighs
            available evidence before making a decision. You are little different
            than a creationist.”

            projection much?
            there are a copious amount of studies, other than this one, that suggest many agro-chemicals, bio-industrial pollutants are harmful to health. go read some real science, and put down the shill report.

          • harmful to health in the concentrations consumers are exposed to … no, not so much

          • Jin The Ninja | Jun 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

            so your thesis is unequivocally, that industrial pollutant residue found on food, and industrial preservatives in food- are in NO way harmful to health? is that what you’re saying?

          • > not so much

            Weasel words.

          • Jin The Ninja | Jun 3, 2014 at 11:10 am |

            because livers never fail, hepatoxicity never occurs, pollutants and bio-industrial chemicals ARE good for us. they never cause animals birth defects. agent orange never caused human birth defects. water is roundup, air is coal emissions. we’ve been here before. shill.

          • If you want to ignore the epidemiological evidence before you that is your choice but dont go on to pretend that you are some kind of rational individual who weighs available evidence before making a decision. You are little different than a creationist.

          • Jin The Ninja | Jun 3, 2014 at 11:49 am |

            agent orange is a foodstuff right? shill.

          • Duh? Of course we are metabolizing them in the enviroment, every breath you take there is some form of toxin in the air especially in major cities.

            This is not about avoiding toxins all together its about being exposed to less toxins and not supporting the corporations/farmers that are putting large amounts of toxins in the enviroment and if you some how think having less toxin exposure isnt better for you then you are a moron.

            Also, l admit you caught me early in the morning here and i was thinking i typed sythetic organic compound but clearly did not. ANYWAYS that Iis really besides the point….are you really saying there are no toxic organic compounds either naturally occuring or synthetic? Are you dumb or a paid troll?

          • He could be an anti-environmental ideologue.

            Well, I guess that’d count as dumb.

          • Jin The Ninja | Jun 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm |

            plenty of medicinal herbs are liver toxic in moderate dose with prolonged exposure. as are many prescription drugs. care to retract that statement? i can back mine up, can you?

          • emperorreagan | Jun 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm |

            Yeah, it’s easy to say that the liver can break down organic compounds. Sure, it can do that in many cases – but not necessarily without cost. There are acute and chronic exposures that can damage the liver and other organs (easy example – alcohol or good old DDT), there’s bioaccumulation of fat soluble compounds, there are compounds that result in metabolites that are toxic (acetaminophen, for instance), there’s joint toxicity (!divAbstract)…

    • Oh sure it doesn’t…

      Shouldn’t your post come with some kind of “Sponsored by Monsanto” tag?

    • Number1Framer | Jun 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm |

      Yah, okay. I’m still going to eat organic and local while opposing big
      agribusiness at every turn including spreading info around on the web
      and live awareness-raising actions such as “Marches Against Monsanto.”
      Regardless of any dosage toxicology threshold, it’s not natural or meant
      to be eaten. If everything is peachy and dandy, then by all means, you
      can have my portion.

    • emperorreagan | Jun 3, 2014 at 11:00 am |

      “Epidemiologic evidence clearly suggests that at current exposures pesticides adversely affect human health. Thus, human studies on exposure and health effects complement the current process of regulation based on animal toxicity testing. Extrapolation from animals to humans may not always be appropriate because pesticide metabolism may differ in animals and humans. Further, human exposure may be intermittent, may occur through a variety of routes (e.g., dermal,
      oral, inhalation), and may be to a complex formulation, in contrast to continuous
      oral exposures to single chemicals in animals.”

      Alavanja,MCR, Hoppin, J.A., Kamel, F., 2004. Health Effects of Chronic Pesticide Exposure: Cancer and Neurotoxicity, Annu Rev. Public Health 25:155-97.

  2. Oginikwe | Jun 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm |

    Since studies show that Round-up formulations cause birth defects and atrazine can cause reproductive cancers, this is good news for everyone but especially for people who want to start a family.

    • Oh dont be spreading disinformation everyone knows roundup increases liver function and makes you smarter and kills cancer and all sorts of health benefits.

  3. BuzzCoastin | Jun 2, 2014 at 8:46 pm |

    interesting that it only takes a week to clear 90%
    also interesting that most people eating cyborg food
    are carrying a supply of pesticides around in their bodies
    how organophosphatic

  4. Neon Suntan | Jun 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm |

    Dr Oates science degree is in Naturopathy which “lacks an adequate scientific basis, and it is rejected by the medical community”. so she’s probably not the best person to head up this study. The study and it’s creators also have links back to a big company called Blackmores which makes money selling organic supplements. And where one of the authors of the report now works.


    – Testing 13 people for 1 week is too small a group for useful data.
    – the Impact Factor(IF) of Environmental Research is 3.2, not damning in and of itself but not very mainstream journal
    – the IF for the journal where “Evidence is being published to support organic food production” is 1.998.

    • Jin The Ninja | Jun 3, 2014 at 11:13 am |

      a naturopathic physician is basically a GP, and can function as a sole practitioner. nice try though.

      • Neon Suntan | Jun 3, 2014 at 11:27 am |

        Dr Oates has no medical qualifications that would allow her to attend or help at a roadside accident. However one of her colleagues on this paper does have a Medical degree and a Naturopath qualification and they now work for Blackmores.

        • Jin The Ninja | Jun 3, 2014 at 11:46 am |

          they can provide as much road assistance as an EMT or an RN. you’re aussie? well here they are required to have the ability to perform minor surgery and can prescribe ‘scipts.
          a biochemistry PH.D, neither, can perform roadside surgery, does that make them less academically qualified? a naturopath is a defacto holistic nutrionist (among many other things) with extensive training in physiology and anatomy.

  5. Woobniggurath | Jun 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm |

    Why do people so consistently miss the point? I eat organics, and buy the cotton etc, not because I fear the residues on my tomato – though those are nice to do without – but because if I support organic farmers there will be fewer dollars going toward farmers who pump the air and water full of poisons which accumulate EVERYWHERE. They also will not be pouring nitrogen directly into the rivers and creating oceanic dead zones. Organic farmers also, just incidentally, build topsoil rather than eroding it.

    Trying to avoid the poisons which are already everywhere is a fool’s solution. Trying to build a system where poisons are eliminated before ever being introduced into the environment may eventually change things.

    • Number1Framer | Jun 2, 2014 at 11:08 pm |

      But reverting arable land back into its previous state of not being permeated with poisons will be the real magic trick. For decades now, we’ve used the land as a sponge onto which all manner of chemistry is dispersed. It’s not possible to grow organic on land that’s tainted. How do you fix millions of acres of soil (not to mention water tables)?

      Edit: For the record I’m not disagreeing with anything you said above. I’m totally with you, but the problems seem complex beyond any single solution or system.

      • That depends upon the “poison.” Some (like dioxins, PCBs) we will never get rid of and that land will just lie fallow, full of “bad spirits.” Some we can mitigate with “clean” manure (that is, manure clean of routine antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, and clean of other ground up animals, cement, sawdust, etc.) and/or clean old hay. We spread old hay on a field that was sparse and struggling and it’s coming back just nice because the hay rots and feeds the soil while seeding it at the same time. All “poisons” are not the same in their levels of contamination nor in their longevity in the soils.

        Since China now has many thousands of acres of contaminated farm land that can’t be used for growing food, I’m curious to see how they deal with this problem.

        • By buying up huge chunks of (relatively rare, for the actual size of the landmass) viable farmland in places like Australia, as far as I can see.

          • Oh? I didn’t know that. I knew that the land rush is on in Africa and Brazil is slated to start growing soybeans in one of those countries but I didn’t know that about China. So, I’m curious: are they going to grow food for export to China? What happens when all the food goes to China and little stays in Australia?

          • SusieBartlettedo | Jun 4, 2014 at 7:38 am |

            Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
            on the computer . see post F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

          • Yeah, to be honest it’s not really clear about the extent, but the whoreish Australian govt seems intent on opening its legs for whoever’s got the cashola – this despite assurances that it’s not doing that very thing.

            E.g. they’ve recently stated that private Chinese investors can “only” buy farmland up to 15 million in value (yeah, cos that’s not easy to work your way around…) and they also said there were no plans to relax the rules on foreign investment, but then (almost literally in the same breath) said that in order to clinch a free trade agreement with China, it might be necessary to relax the requirements around Chinese state-owned and state-controlled investments.

            Cue predictable blah about how selling off the most useful chunks of your country to a foreign dictatorship “creates jobs” (cos that’s the be-all and end-all… at least in terms of dog-whistle politics) and somehow magically “increases the quality of life” for Australian citizens.

          • I wonder if some day we’ll all get on the same page and quit buying anything from China. I try to do that now; all my family and friends do that; in the blogs, all I read is people not buying stuff from China yet, China’s on its way to owning all of us. I quit buying stuff from China because it’s poor quality, beginning with a set of wrenches that turned into boomerangs the first time I tried to use them. After that, only Craftsman. Then came the pet food poisonings and that did it.

          • Totally, that’s a great goal to have. It’s just so hard to avoid though.

            (This is just a stupid little thing, but one of the minor banes of my life for the last few years have been “Zenith” brand screws from China, which are about the only brand available at my local hardware store. I swear those things are made out of metallic play doh, as you need to have 3-4 times as many as any job requires, because you can guarantee that you’ll twist the heads right off most of them as you screw them in, regardless of whether doing by hand with a screwdriver or using a power drill. Oh yeah, they’re much cheaper than the old locally-made ones you can’t buy anymore, but where’s the actual saving when they’re essentially useless?)

          • Oginikwe | Jun 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm |

            “where’s the actual saving when they’re essentially useless?”
            Exactly. I bought a GE toaster: the knobs fell off after two weeks. Bought a cheap coffeemaker, quite working three months later so I bought a really expensive one, the computer press pad quit working after a year. Bought another cheap one, made sure to keep the receipt so that when it quit working seven months later, took it back and exchanged it for new. So far, two years on this one. Now I keep receipts for everything and take everything back that fails our use tests.

    • If you trust the USDA and the FDA, go for it. Someone’s got to eat that crap and it might as well be you and your family.

      • Dingbert | Jun 3, 2014 at 6:54 pm |

        FDA, no. USDA, yes–in fact, they tout the benefits of organic, including reduction of pesticides. But they’re not at all pesticide-free. Soil/water contamination is more disconcerting (see Dr. Musgrave’s comments in the original article).

  6. Well, let’s see. In 1999, U of California, Berkeley signed a five year, $25 million deal with Novartis. In 2000, Novartis and Zeneca were combined to give us Syngenta.
    This was done in 2001: the best science that money can buy.

  7. Aidan Benelle | Jun 4, 2014 at 9:05 am |

    Now, if we could just eliminate the pesticide producers (Dow, Monsanto) from our regulatory “bodies” as well.

Comments are closed.