Pesticides in Organic and Conventional Farming


If An Article Says “Study” It Must Be True! Collective Evolution, and other websites that no rational person would ever take seriously, are reporting with the headline of New Study Finds Organic Diet For One Week Drops Pesticide Levels By 90 Percent In Adults. Let’s break this down piece by piece.

I constantly come across individuals not knowing the difference between organic food and food that’s riddled with pesticides, that’s why awareness is so important. A recent study conducted by researchers from RMIT university, published in the journal Environmental Research found that an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide (commonly used in conventional food production) exposure in adults. (1)

Here they link a study from Environmental Research. They also make an interesting claim. They make a false dichotomy between organic food and food that’s “riddled with pesticides.” The irony is that they’re accusing others of not knowing the difference, when they themselves don’t seem to have a clue. Organic farming, like all farming, utilizes pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc, of varying degrees of toxicity. These are all organic approved substances.

Organic Pesticides

Note: Toxicity chart shows toxicity to bee population

Now, let’s look at some of their claims regarding the study, and the study itself.

Thirteen participants were randomly selected to consume a diet consisting of at least 80% organic or conventional food for precisely 7 days, afterwards crossing over to the alternative diet from which they started. Urinary levels were used for analysis. The study found that urinary dialkylphosphates (DAPs) measurements were 89% lower when they ate an organic diet for seven days compared to a conventional diet for the same amount of time. (1)

Did I just read that correctly? Does it says “thirteen participants?” How can any meaningful conclusions be determined by 13 participants? Now, this site, and the others, are reporting on and citing the abstract of the study, as the full text is behind a paywall. That being said, how do we know what the diets they even fed the 13 people were? Were they eating  specific foods that aren’t grown with the pesticides they were testing for to make organic come out on top? How biased in the study? None of this is reporting on or mentioned because the author of the article doesn’t know, and isn’t likely to care, since it’s all about confirming bias.

Let’s move on to the next bit.

The research was conducted by Dr. Liza Oates as part of her PhD project and supervised by Professor Marc Cohen from RMIT’s School of Health Sciences. It was supported in part by a donation to RMIT University from Bharat Mitra, co-founder of Organic India Pty Ltd..

So, it’s always ironic when the organic advocates say that all of the thousands of studies affirming GMO safety must be somehow biased, and then they put out stuff like this. The study was done on a donation from an organic company founder. It was  conducted by a researcher whose professional work consists of:

National Herbalists Association of Australia
Australasian Integrative Medicine Association
Australian Register of Naturopaths & Herbalists (Victorian Board Member)

So, this is a terrible source to come to any conclusions. It’s a tiny, biased study, with biased funding, and a biased researched, with no controls and no good, detailed information on the specific diets used in order to replicate or fact check it.

The rest of the article is just more fear mongering about pesticides and herbicides and some “OMG Monsatan!” type of rhetoric, while linking to other terrible articles on the same website. There’s nothing of substance there to even address.

Remember, a single study is NEVER a good resource to make definitive claims. You ALWAYS want a body of evidence. If you are, however, going to make a claim based on a single study, make sure it’s at least a decent one.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at


One thought on “Pesticides in Organic and Conventional Farming

  1. Pingback: Pesticides in Organic and Conventional Farming | Rationality Unleashed! | The Foodentists

Unleash your input

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s