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Daily News Blog

19
Jul

Take Action: Schools Must Provide and Encourage Organic Food

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2021) As yet another study, “Early life multiple exposures and child cognitive function: A multi-centric birth cohort study in six European countries,” draws attention to the benefits of organic food for the learning young mind, it is important that schools provide organic food to students. The study, conducted by Spanish researchers based at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, looks at a totality of all environmental hazards that children encounter, rather than individual lifestyle factors. As study co-author Jordi Júlvez, PhD, notes, “Healthy diets, including organic diets, are richer than fast food diets in nutrients necessary for the brain, such as fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, which together may enhance cognitive function in childhood.”

Tell your governor and USDA/Food and Nutrition Service to provide organic school lunches and information for parents.

Researchers find that children who eat organic food display higher scores measuring fluid intelligence and working memory. Lower scores on fluid intelligence tests are associated with children’s fast food intake, house crowding, and exposure to tobacco smoke. Lower scores on working memory tests were associated with exposure to poor indoor air quality.

This study adds to prior research finding that eating a conventional, chemical-intensive diet increases the presence of pesticides and their metabolites in an individual’s urine, including higher pesticide body burden from eating foods grown in chemical-intensive systems. In fact, because of their smaller size, children carry higher levels of glyphosate and other toxic pesticides in their body. Coupled with this research are multiple studies showing that many common pesticides result in developmental problems in children. Most recently, a 2019 Danish study found that higher concentrations of pyrethroid insecticides corresponded to higher rates of ADHD in children. There is also strong evidence that organophosphate insecticides, still widely used on fruits and vegetables in the U.S., are dropping children’s IQs on a national and global scale, costing billions to the economy in the form of lost brain power.

Studies show children’s developing organs create “early windows of great vulnerability” during which exposure to pesticides can cause great damage. This is supported by the findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which concludes, “Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity.”

Switching from a conventional diet of food produced with chemical-intensive practices to organic diet drastically reduces the levels of pesticides in one’s body, with one week on organic food showing a 70% reduction in glyphosate in the body, according to one study. Socio-economic factors play a large role in access to heathy organic foods, and the ability to provide the sort of environment that allows a child’s brain to flourish, so it is important that school lunches, which provide nutrition across socioeconomic classes, help to equalize learning potential. Pitting access and cost against the long-term success of a child’s development puts many parents in an untenable position. The preponderance of evidence points to organic food providing the nutrition needed to give young minds the start they need in life. But eating organic should not be a choice to make – all food should be grown with high quality standards that reject the use of brain-damaging pesticides and protect the wider environment. 

Tell your governor and USDA/Food and Nutrition Service to provide organic school lunches and information for parents.

See the factsheet, Children Need Organic Food.

 

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  • Archives

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