Pesticides include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, and other chemicals that are used to protect plants from diseases or make growing them more economical. While much more research needs to be done to truly understand the role these chemicals play in overall health when ingested, existing research shouldn’t be swept under the rug. “It’s really important for people to pay attention to this,” says Nneka Leiba, MPH, director of the Environmental Working Group’s healthy living science program.
For instance, a 2012 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting pesticides in children as much as possible due to an association between pesticide ingestion and brain development risks during pregnancy and early childhood.
Consuming a diet rich in organic foods, i.e., including fewer pesticides, has been linked to decreased cancer risk. A 2018 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzed the diets of nearly 70,000 French adults and found that those who ate organic foods more often had 25 percent less cancers than those who didn’t eat organic. The cancers measured included non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, breast, prostate, colorectal and skin cancers. JAMA Internal Medicine is a peer-reviewed medical journal published online weekly and in print monthly by the American Medical Association. This study is obviously being discussed so you may want to look up discussion online for a broad perspective.
-Ella Ingraham for the Green Team