We Took A Closer Look At “Organic” Food Claims

A new study of nearly 70,000 French adults found that those who ate the most organic foods were less likely to develop certain kinds of cancer than the people who ate the least. (Tina Fineberg / Associated Press)

A new study of organic food is raising eyebrows 

| Karen Kaplan, LA Times – To reduce your risk of cancer, you know you should quit smoking, exercise regularly, wear sunscreen, and take advantage of screening tests. New research suggests another item might be added to this list: Choose organic foods over conventional ones.

A study of nearly 70,000 French adults who were tracked for an average of 4.5 years found that those who ate the most organic foods were less likely to develop certain kinds of cancer than the people who ate the least.

Because of the way the study was conducted, it is impossible to say that the organic foods people ate were the reason why they had fewer cases of cancer.

But the results are significant enough to warrant follow-up studies, the researchers wrote.

“Further research is required to identify which specific factors are responsible for potential protective effects of organic food consumption on cancer risk,” they wrote Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The researchers have an idea about what factors those may be: pesticides.

At least three of them — glyphosate, malathion, and diazinon — probably cause cancer, and others may be carcinogenic as well, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

“Organic products are less likely to contain pesticide residues than conventional foods,” they wrote. That’s because the rules farmers must follow in order to use the organic label generally prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides …

In the U.S., more than 9 out of 10 people have measurable amounts of pesticides in their urine or their blood, and these concentrations are known to fall when people switch from conventionally produced foods to organic ones. Read more. 

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