01/08/06 05:21 PM
Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides

Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s
Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides

Chensheng Lu, Kathryn Toepel, Rene Irish,
Richard A. Fenske, Dana B. Barr, and Roberto Bravo

doi:10.1289/ehp.8418 (available at http://dx.doi.org/)

Online 1 September 2005

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
National Institutes of Health

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


We utilized a novel study design to measure dietary organophosphorus pesticide exposure in a group of 23 elementary school-age children through urinary biomonitoring.

We substituted most of children’s conventional diets with organic food items for 5 consecutive days, and collected two, first morning and before the bedtime voids, daily
spot urine samples throughout the 15-day study period. We found that the median urinary concentrations of the specific metabolites for malathion and chlorpyrifos
decreased to the non-detect levels immediately after the introduction of organic diets and remained non-detectable until the conventional diets were re-introduced. The median
concentrations for other organophosphorus pesticide metabolites were also lower in the organic diet consumption days, however, the detection of those metabolites were not
frequent enough to show any statistical significance. In conclusion, we were able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect
against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agricultural production. We also concluded that these children were most likely exposed to these
organophosphorus pesticides exclusively through their diet. To our knowledge this is the first study to employ a longitudinal design with a dietary intervention to assess children’s exposure to pesticides. It provides new and persuasive evidence of the effectiveness of this intervention.


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