A new study commissioned by the European Parliament has recently returned findings absolutely confirming the health value of organic food, due to the underestimated health dangers of pesticides on conventional produce. It also expresses concern over the level of regulation of these chemicals, as that regulation is based on a very low recognition of the dangers of exposure.
(Isn't the hazmat suit a bit of a give away?)
One of the most common ‘negative’ comments I get about organic food is “Oh but it isn’t any more nutritional’. And often I concede that sadly that is the truth for much of the produce – organic and conventional. The soil that is farmed today is so depleted in nutrition and minerals that we are only getting a fraction of nutrients that our parents before us would have received.
However organic farmers, those who truly embrace the organic movement, are constantly working to improve their soils and ecosystems, not just to produce something that is taller and greener (i.e. looks good therefore sells well), but something that is actually a healthier end product. Without the genetic “mutation”, without the toxic chemicals, without the need to dip and wax and leave residues that are so very unhealthy for the human biome. And that is the big reason why I choose organic.
Additionally, as we have mentioned before, that “healthier end product” is so much more than just the corncob or apple. It is just as much about the engaged community, the healthier farmers, and vibrant and alive environment - all of which are just as important on a more global level.
What is the new study?
The European Parliament commissioned a review of all current and recent scientific evidence regarding the impacts of organic farming on human health. The results were quite startling. While it feels that this evidence has long been around (yet ignored), it is still confronting to see in black and white the detrimental effects of pesticides and insecticides in our food.
In a nutshell, the review found increasing evidence that the residues from pesticides are causing brain damage and reducing the IQ of the population. The study went on to warn of the ‘very high costs’ of current levels of exposure to pesticides, especially for children and pregnant women. Concerns have also been raised about these agricultural chemicals causing cancer and damage to reproductive systems.
Why did the European Parliament feel the need to review current studies?
There was much concern that the previous studies and reviews have disregarded too much research – thus leading to chemical regluations that are potentially woefully inadequate.
"At least 100 different pesticides are known to cause adverse neurological effects in adults, and all of these substances must therefore be suspected of being capable of damaging developing brains as well," the report states.
Previous chemical risk assessments have been criticised for:
- Not taking the health of the whole population in to account, but just sticking to a select ‘scientific group’
- Disregarding evidence that even low level exposure to organophosphates (used extensively in agricultural pesticides) has a negative impact on children’s cognitive development
- Fails to properly examine any increased risk of cancer or impacts on the hormonal and nervous systems
- Inadequately address mixed exposures, specifically for:
- Carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects
- Endocrine disrupting effects
- Concerns that data gaps are too readily accepted
In fact the authors suggest that policy makers should support the organic industry as it continues to develop a healthy food system.
From our experience, most people who start to change their diet to organics do so either for a specific health reason or for their children (either about to start a family or realizing importance of what we feed our children for optimum development). Both of those are really great reasons for starting the organic journey, however what about YOU?
I believe every ‘body’ deserves the chance to eat clean and to live a healthier life. I would like to be vibrant and still have clear eyes and a cheeky wit when I am interacting with my grandchildren (many decades off yet!!). And sadly, there is an expectation that dementia or other debilitating illnesses are a matter of course as you get older and that just doesn’t have to be the case. As this review points out, with a food chain free from chemicals, brain health is an absolute winner.
Have you made the switch to organic for you and your family? If you haven’t yet you will see improvements in your health, the flavor of what you’re eating, and know that you are making a positive impact on the environment and local farming communities.
If you’re new to organics try us at OneTable. We are focused on bringing you a hand picked list of the best fresh produce, grocery, dairy, meat and bread available. All selected for quality and purity with Certified Organic being our starting point.
EDIT: Apologies this got missed in the final publish.
The links to the report are below. Take a look at sections 5.3 and 5.4 from page 29.
Here's the link to the website: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_STU(2016)581922
Here's the link to the full report: