Does Eating Organic Reduce Your Exposure To Toxic Chemicals?
The leading certification of organics in Australia, Australian Certified Organic (ACO), states, “To be certified organic means to grow or manufacture a product free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics. Livestock must be free to range and pasture-fed, seed must be non-GM, and the process must be water efficient and biodiversity friendly.”
Within organic certification, a whole different standard applies where allowable sprays must be organic in origin and certified. So not all organic farms are necessarily ‘chemical-free’ in this sense. But it’s the origin of the chemical that is often the clincher. Synthetic pesticides have a whole different interaction with the natural environment.
For example, organically derived Pyrethrum (a naturally occurring insecticide found in the chrysanthemum) will break down through photodegradation anywhere from within hours of application to a few weeks. Their synthetic counterparts have been specifically engineered to not breakdown in this manner. This is a highly toxic chemical for aquatic life and mildly toxic for mammals. What an organic farm considers a virtue, is a weakness to a conventional farm.
A growing body of evidence is revealing some of the toxic side affects of the most widely used agricultural herbicide, glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup®). Traditionally, it was just used as a spot treatment on weeds because of its potency. Now, however, Roundup® ready seeds are genetically modified to withstand the potent effects of glyphosate which has allowed for broad acre application (that is, killing everything else in its path). Not only do you have GMOs to contest with and widescale environmental poisoning, but residue may still remain on food crops post harvest. Glyphosate messes with your gut microbiome, causing inflammation on the cellular level which can consequently induce gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (source).
So yes, opting for an organic alternative can help reduce your exposure to these herbicides and pesticides that are sprayed on conventional crops which are potential carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and all round, harmful to human health (source).