While even the Environmental Protection Agency calls pesticides “useful,” many pesticides are known carcinogens and the population is not routinely tested to determine if harmful levels are present in the body. A peer-reviewed study published online in the January 2008 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from Mercer Island grocery stores contained biological markers of organophosphates, the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II.

When the same children ate organic fruits, vegetables and juices, signs of pesticides were not found. According to the study’s author, Chensheng Lu, once you switch from conventional food to organic, the pesticides (malathion and chlorpyrifos) that can be measured in the urine disappears. Death or serious health problems have been documented in thousands of cases in which there were high-level exposures to malathion and chlorpyrifos.

The Organic Consumers Association recently publishes an article about the effect of chemicals on the body’s ability to lose weight, noting that the liver is the body’s primary detoxification and fat-burning organ. Therefore, the more unnatural chemicals a person consumes on a regular basis, the more time and energy the liver needs to spend detoxifying the body, thus, the less time and energy it will have for burning fat.  (Read more)

Growing organic food in your own backyard has the obvious benefit of your knowing where it came from and how it was grown. If you choose organic methods, you will never have to worry about possible health issues associated with the pesticides that are routinely sprayed on conventional crops at the supermarket. You will likely also eat more vegetables because you went to the trouble to grow them and it does not cost you anything to harvest them.