Friday, October 31, 2014

Am I hurting my child with her food?

So I read an article in Slate that argued organic food for kids is a waste of money. The piece offers a great look at some of the science behind pesticide levels in fruits and veggies, and the conclusion is that parents shouldn’t worry about whether to buy organic or conventional fruits and veggies — we should just buy more of them.
Unsurprisingly this article lands smack middle in a huge debate that seems to have no end. On one side you have the rich snobs who feel vindicated when they purchase pricey organic foods for their elite private school educated child. And on the other side you have parents like me who are afraid to purchase foods laced with pesticides but unable to afford everything organic. 

The article makes some compelling points that are well worth considering: Organic food contains pesticides, too. Washing fruits and veggies can reduce the pesticide load substantially. And most definitely, conventionally grown fruits and veggies are way better than none at all. Also I read in a different article from the Huffington post that the pesticides used in organic foods are made from all natural ingredients that break down easier... so even so if thats the case it still has to be better right? or is a pesticide still a pesticide? Ugh I'm so confused! 

WTF is a pesticide anyway? What does it do? Am i slowly killing my child by giving her foods laced with them? Will I slow her brain development or cause her to get autism? You may laugh at these statements but they are very valid questions we just can't seem to have answers for. So science doesn’t tell us what these pesticides are actually doing in young kids’ bodies and brains. Maybe at such low levels they are completely harmless. But it’s possible that at even low levels, these molecules can have subtle effects that animal studies couldn’t possibly detect. The fact is that some pesticides — at some debatable level — are getting into kids’ bodies from food. 

So yes, feeding your kids a strict organic diet will lower their pesticide load, this study suggests. And feeding your kids conventional fruits and veggies will create a pesticide load that’s way lower than the EPA’s best guess about the amount that can cause harm. But the truth is that no one really knows how these compounds behave in a growing body. Such studies almost impossible to do. As someone who needs to feed a kid, I do what I can when I can. Baby C usually  eats conventionally grown food. I wash her food well. And I realize that like anything having to do with how to raise a baby, I’m working with imperfect information and try not to let it faze me. There’s a lot we don’t know.