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Research on the benefits of an organic diet

Exposure to potentially harmful substances during pregnancy and childhood:

Hazardous chemicals have been found to cross the placenta and end up in the bodies of unborn children in research carried out in Spain by the University of Granada.  Tests on blood from the placentas of pregnant women revealed up to fifteen different types of contaminants. (1)

Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides is associated with poorer intellectual development in 7-year-old children, shows a study by Bouchard at the University of Berkeley, California. (2)

In utero exposure to organophosphate pesticides is associated adversely with attention in young children as assessed by maternal report, psychometrical observation, and direct assessment. (3)

The KOALA Birth Cohort Study in the Netherlands measured organic food consumption, eczema and wheeze in infants until two years of age.  Consumption of organic dairy products was associated with lower eczema risk. (4)

Nutritional quality of organic foods:

A comprehensive review by the French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA) published in 2009 (5) found that organic plant products contain more minerals (iron, magnesium) and more antioxidant micronutrients, and organic animal products contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids, than products from intensive food production.

Results of a major study published at the end of 2007 (6) shows that organic food is more nutritious and may even help fight cancer. Professor Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University found that organic fruit and vegetables contained higher amounts of antioxidants, which could cut the risk of cancer and heart disease. 


1. Cerrillo I, et al. (2005).  Endosulfan and its metabolites in fertile women, placenta, cord blood, and human milk. Environ. Research; 98(2):233-9.
2. Bouchard, MF. et al (2011); Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and IQ in 7-Year Old Children.   Environ. Health Perspect. 119, No.8: 1189-1195’ 
3. Marks AR, et al (2010). Organophosphate Pesticide Exposure and Attention in Young Mexican-American Children: The CHAMACOS study.  Environ. Health Perspect. 118, No.12: 1768-1774
4. Kummeling, I. et al (2007); Consumption of organic foods and risk of atopic disease during the first 2 years of life in the Netherlands ‘- British Journal of Nutrition (2008), 99, 598-605.
5. Lairon, D (2009).  Agron. Sustain. Dev. DOI:10.1051/agro/2009019
6. QLIF study: Effects of production methods - Determining the effect of organic and low-input production methods on food quality and safety (2009)