Why Organic Matters

Up until a couple of weeks ago I felt as if my reasons for promoting organic food were pretty strong:

  • Pre world war two almost all food was organic - it is the 'normal' - it is the "full of pesticides" food that needs to be labelled
  • Pesticides are designed to kill something - so how can they be completely harmless to us
  • Children's bodies are up to four times more sensitive to pesticides - so do it for your kids
  • Organic food comes from farming that is more in line with nature, less intensive and protects our water and environment
  • It just tastes better - if you want kids to eat carrots you really have to give them local and organic ones as they taste amazing!

Then I read last week an article in 'Le Monde' (Le bons points du regime bio pour la sante - 28/10/17) which was about a new study at European level which was released in the Environment Health Journal and brings together results from 280 international scientific studies.

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Some of the key findings:

  • Eating mainly or exclusively organic food during pregnancy leads to a significant reduction in allergies and eczema in babies, and reduction in pleeclampsia
  • A UK study of 620,000 women over 9 years showed a 21% reduction in development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among women eating mainly organic food compared to those eating non-organic food
  • A French study followed 62,000 people and showed 31% less risk of obesity among those eating organic food.

Now of course we need to keep our critical sense when reading these statistics - perhaps people eating more organic food are also having a better standard of living or exercising more or just eating more vegetables - it's possible...

But the study also looks at those people working in the agricultural sector - the non-organic sector where workers are exposed to 385 approved chemicals in the EU as compared to the organic sector where only 26 far less toxic treatments for the crops are allowed. Among these workers, those in the non-organic sector are far more at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, Parkinson's disease and Leukemia among younger people.

Another very interesting finding names an insecticide 'Chlorpyrifos' which is widely used in Europe, which when consumed during pregnancy can cause neural and cognitive defects in children as well as ADHD and hyperactivity.

associations between urinary concentrations of pyrethroid metabolites in children and parent-reported learning disabilities, ADHD or other behavioural problems in the children have recently been reported in studies from the US and Canada
— Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: a comprehensive review
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One of the major conclusions of the study is also that much more scientific study of the long and short term effects of pesticides on human and animal health need to be carried out. With so much power in the hands of 5 huge chemical companies producing these products, often the political will and the funding for such studies can be lacking. 

I hope this is changing. This week the EU voted against a license to Monsanto for their herbicide 'Glyphosate'... but they are not giving up - they will continue to lobby and bully the Member States to have their way... but who will pay the price in the end?

What can we do?

  • Support your own local, organic agriculture through your purse... shop wisely and kindly and give yourself the quality you and your family deserve
  • Support organisations like Avaaz who are doing great work to lobby against the giants like Monsanto 
  • Talk to people around you - knowledge is power...