Little Evidence Organic Food Better in Long Run: Report

But pediatricians' group acknowledged that lower pesticide levels may be better for growing brain

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Charles Benbrook, chief science consultant at the Organic Center in Enterprise, Ore., said the AAP report "clearly presents the major reasons parents choose to invest in organic food to increase the odds of their child's safe passage through the many tricky stages of development, during which even a little bit of the wrong chemical, like [a pesticide], can do lifelong damage."

Benbrook, whose group conducts "credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming," said he was surprised the authors did not more strongly emphasize the IQ decline among children born to mothers born in a high-exposure pesticide group, research that was published in a niche journal not normally read by physicians.

"To me, four to seven IQ points -- about equal to a 4 percent to 7 percent decline -- is a pretty big deal, regardless of where the basic science appears," he said. "Like the Stanford study, the authors do not see evidence of clinically significant responses upon a switch to organic food. They implicitly ignore the health-promotion, disease-prevention benefits, although they do describe the sort of study that would be needed to detect such impacts, and note that such a study has never been done and would be very expensive."

More information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more about organic foods.

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