Estimating Pesticide Exposure from Dietary Intake and Organic Food Choices
A new study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, uses dietary exposure data from nearly 4,500 people in six cities to examine presence of organophosphates (OPs), one of the most widely used type of insecticides in the United States. The study analyzed participants’ urine samples for evidence of OPs, then they compared these results from a subset of 720 people to the USDA’s measurements of pesticide residues on the fruit and vegetables the participants reported eating. The report found that people who ate conventionally-grown produce had high concentrations of OP metabolites in their urine, while people who reported eating organic produce had significantly lower levels. In fact, those who ate the least organic produce had as much as twice the pesticide levels as those who ate organic the most frequently.