People choose to eat organic and live an organic lifestyle for a variety of reasons. Common reasons include increased nutritional value; decreased exposure to pesticides and other chemicals to eliminate health risks; taste and flavor; and organic farming and processing are better for the environment. However, it is important to explore why kids need organic food.
Health Risks To Children
The World Health Organization has done some studies on pesticide risks to kids and it was found that high levels of organophosphates such as those obtained from unwashed fruits and vegetables caused impairment in intelligence and neurological conditions.
Consumer Reports states that apart from farmworkers, kids are that the highest risk of pesticide exposure, primarily because a child’s metabolism is still developing and slower than an adult’s so the toxins remain longer in their bodies where they can do more damage.
In April of 2014, Dr Philippe Grandjean of Harvard University and Dr Philip Landrigan, dean of global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan called pesticide exposure to kids a “silent epidemic” in a prestigious medical journal.
12 chemicals were named that are present in our environment, clothing and even furniture that they believe to not only cause lower IQ, but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder and pesticides used in agriculture were on the list.
They reported that 45 organophosphate pesticides on the market have the potential to damage a child’s developing nervous system.
According to, Landrigan pesticides can impair the fragile developmental process in children, starting in the womb. In addition, since kids eat more food in ratio to their body weight than adults do the risk is magnified where even small amounts can negatively affect their brain chemistry during critical stages of the development process.
Human Studies On Kids And Pesticides
Studies have been done on the long-term effects of pesticides in children, particularly organophosphate exposure. Organophosphates are believed to have a negative effect on the nervous system by being antagonists of acetylcholinesterase, which is an enzyme that controls the firing of nerve cells causing depression of the nervous system, which can affect the brain development of children.
Three major studies on organophosphates linked maternal exposure to organophosphates in pregnancy and learning/memory activity in their children:
A Columbia University study found decreases in IQ and memory in seven-year-old kids were seen with exposure in utero to clorpyrifos, an organophosphate pesticide. While it’s been banned by the EPA for residential use, kids are still exposed through contaminated produce.
Another study of 8 to 15 year olds reported that subjects with the highest urinary levels of a marker for exposure to organophosphates had twice the odds of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as compared to those who had no detectable levels.
A Mount Sinai Medical Center study showed that prenatal organophosphate exposure in kids caused perceptual reasoning deficits.
More research from the University of California, Berkeley, found that kids born from women in a Latino farm community who had elevated levels of organophosphate exposure suffered from lower IQs when compared to women who did not have high levels of pesticide exposure.
In 2012, Dr David Bellinger, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, published a paper in the National Institute of Health that detailed a comparison of IQ points in kids whose mothers were exposed to neurotoxin pesticides during their pregnancies, with the children of moms who were not. In his calculations, he reported a loss of more than 16.9 million IQ points in children because of exposure to the most used pesticides in food crops, organophosphates.
A 2012 American Academy of Paediatrics report stated their finding that children have distinctive and unique vulnerabilities to pesticide residues and their potential toxicity.
The report cited a variety of research studies that linked pesticide exposures in early life to decreased cognitive function, paediatric cancers, and various behavioural problems.
The report advised its members, paediatricians and other health care provides to advise parents to consult reliable sources of information regarding pesticide residue concentrations on produce and consider their buying choices. The report recommended the Environmental Working Group’s™ Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ as a reliable and key source of information on the topic.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, we’re all born with a limited supply of brain cells. Of course a process known as neurogenesis regenerates and aids the development of fresh brain cells as we mature. However, continued exposure to pesticides can conflict with healthy neurogenesis and kill brain cells off at an accelerated rate.
Protect your children now by feeding them organic!