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Pesticide fears turning parents to organic food

Associated Press
Published November 3, 2005


WASHINGTON - Erin O'Neal has two daughters and a fridge stocked with organic cheese, milk, fruits and vegetables in her Annapolis, Md., home.

She is among the increasing number of parents who buy organic to keep their children's diets free of food grown with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or genetic engineering.

"The pesticide issue just scares me - it wigs me out to think about the amount of chemicals that might be going into my kid," said O'Neal, 36.

Sales of organic baby food have jumped nearly 18 percent since last year - double the overall growth of organic food sales, according to the marketing information company ACNielsen.

The concern about children is that they are more vulnerable to toxins in their diets, said Alan Greene, a California pediatrician.

"Pound for pound, they get higher concentrations of pesticides than adults do," Greene said.

New government-funded research adds to the concern. A study of children whose diets were changed from regular to organic found their pesticide levels plunged almost immediately. The amount of pesticide detected in the children remained imperceptible until their diets were switched back to conventional food.

"We didn't expect that to drop in such dramatic fashion," said Emory University's Chensheng Lu, who led the research.

[Last modified November 3, 2005, 01:07:13]


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