Swedish Family, Pesticides, and Organic Food

Does regular consumption of conventionally cultivated foods treated with pesticides have a negative effect on our health?

Recently, an article was published on telegram.hr, based on the following video.

The purpose of the article was to answer the question posed by many, including me:

Does regular consumption of conventionally cultivated foods treated with pesticides have a negative effect on our health?

To answer that question, the author speaks of the results of the analysis of pesticide remains in bodies of family members who switched from conventionally cultivated foods to organic foods for the period of two weeks. Results very clearly (as was expected) point to a significant reduction in pesticide and other –cide concentration.

Many shared the article, taking it as „proof“ that organic foods are „healthier“ than conventionally cultivated, at least concerning the pesticides (for a more thorough debate, we should include potential differences in micro-, macro- and phytonutrients). However, there’s one thing it does not give an answer to:

Do these pesticide quantities in our body have a negative effect on our health?

The answer depends on the way you look at it: the evil underpaid guy from the lab in the video says he doesn’t know, while the family shows disgust, with the mother saying she does not want the chemicals in her children’s bodies again. To answer this question correctly, we need far more serious and expensive analyses, which are not sufficiently present in scientific literature just yet. So, we shouldn’t rush the conclusion. We must also consider the following:

  1. The „research“ was done by a company that is trying to increase the sales of organic foods, and since there is no revised scientific study available, there’s a question of credibility and possible meddling with the results.
  2. Organic foods are significantly more expensive than conventionally cultivated foods, which leads us to think about what would we sacrifice in the case of a limited budget in order to afford them, and how will this affect our health, even in cases when less pesticides provide a positive effect (for example, instead of a kilo of salad per week, we can afford 0,6 kg, which means 40% less nutrients – posing the question if organic foods are „40% more valuable“)

The purpose of this commentary isn’t to give a detailed presentation of the problems of choosing between organic and conventional, but to point out the quite common and often repeated issue of one-sided arguments based on insufficient data. Also, I do not claim that conventionally cultivated foods are a better choice than organic, but that there are many factors in making this choice.