Seattle, WA—Consumers of organic produce are exposed to less organophosphate pesticide (OP) than those who eat conventional produce, according to a new study out of the University of Washington. Previous studies have relied on urinary biomarkers to determine OP exposure, but this study also looked at dietary intake in its analysis.

The researchers felt that a reliable way of measuring long-term dietary exposure to individual kinds of pesticides is needed to help determine any negative health consequences. To help establish this link, they assessed dietary exposure to 14 types of OP in 4,466 people who were part of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). The exposure levels were estimated by correlating reported intake of specific food items to the average OP residue levels known to exist on those types of food.

In a subgroup that reported rarely or never eating organic produce, the researchers compared urinary dialkylphosphate (DAP) levels with estimated dietary OP exposure levels. A second analysis looked at DAP levels in people who reported varying levels of organic produce consumption.

The study found that increasing dietary OP exposure was linked with higher DAP levels, while those who ate the most organic food had significantly lower DAP concentrations.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2015