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Healthy Baby Guides: Food

You know the saying “You are what you eat?” Well, from the moment you become pregnant, that saying takes on a whole new meaning. Everything you eat while pregnant nourishes this new little life and is therefore the very stuff you are using to grow your baby. Once your baby is born, you can give him the gift of organic foods that will help him to grow healthy and strong.

What you should know:

Conventional food is grown with pesticides. Pesticides are poison, they are meant to kill bugs and animals. In addition, they are linked to the development of cancer, such as childhood leukemia. The EPA states, “There is no safe level of pesticides, only those with an acceptable level of risk.” 1 Organic foods are grown without pesticides and free of GMO’s and antibiotics.1 Organic baby food contains no pesticides and has no artificial flavorings. Eating organically is an easy change that you can make and results can be detected immediately.

An example of how fast a change can be detected can be found in the following study:

Researchers collected urine samples from suburban children. Pesticide breakdown products were found routinely in the samples. The researchers replaced all the foods the children ate with the organic version. Within 24 hours, the concentration of pesticide breakdowns products dropped significantly. After returning to their previous diets, the levels of exposure to organophosphate pesticides returned, sometimes above the safety limits set by the FDA.2

According to a report done by the National Research Council, 30% of commonly used insecticides, 60% of herbicides and 90% of fungicides are potential carcinogens.3 Children are more heavily exposed to pesticides than adults because they eat more of certain foods such as apple, grape and orange juices. Conventionally grown apples are a source of exposure to the organophosphate pesticide; a chemical linked to decreased intelligence and increased attention problems in kids.4 Children also consume more food per body weight than adults and the EPA acknowledges they are more vulnerable to chemicals including carcinogens used on conventional crops 5

A 2005 CDC’s National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, found that pre-school age children eating organic fruits and vegetables had concentrations of pesticides in their urine six times lower than children eating conventional produce.

Organic food by law (WSDA/USDA) must be produced without the use of pesticides and other synthetic chemicals. The US Department of Agriculture’s “organic” seal certifies that foods with the seal are made with at least 95% organic ingredients. The USDA estimates that 20% of our fruits and vegetables are imported and only 1-2% of these are inspected for pesticide residue. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, World Trade Organization and others, there are now fewer barriers to trade with food from other countries where the chemicals are not monitored as stringently. The only way to guarantee that you will not be subjected is to shift to an organic diet. 6

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Resources

  1. Lynda Fassa, Green Babies, Sage Moms, pg. 7
  2. National Research Council “Regulating Pesticides in the Delaney Paradox, National Academy of Sciences 1987 or Green Goes with Everything by Sloan Barnett pg. 145
  3. A study in NIH’s Environmental Health Perspectives, 2006, 114(2), p. 260-263, titles “Organic diets significantly lower children’s exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides.”
  4. “Impact of Prenatal Chlorpyrifos Exposure on Neurodevelopment in the First 3 Years of Life Among Inner-City Children” Pediatrics, 2006, 118(6), pp. e1845-e1859.
  5. “Organophosphorus Pesticide exposure of Urban and Suburban Preschool Children with Organic and Conventional Diets.” Environmental Health Perspectives 111 (3): 377-382 or Green Goes with Everything, pg. 134
  6. http://www.organic-center.org/science.safety.php?action=view&report_id=10 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Volume 52, No. 24, December 1, 2004
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