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A growing body of epidemiological data links prenatal pesticide exposure (crossing the placenta during foetal development), as well as exposure in the first few years of a child’s life, to a variety of health issues including low birth weight, birth defects, abnormal neurological development and reproductive problems. Of the nine most popular ‘kid friendly’ fruits and vegetables, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, celery, spinach and capsicums, all contain multiple pesticide residues, unless they are grown organically.

Eating organic food may help to better promote cellular health since several agricultural chemicals used in the conventional growing of foods have been shown to have a negative effect on mitochondrial function. Several chemicals including paraquat, parathion, dinoseb, and 2-4-D have been found to increase cell membrane permeability exposing the mitochondria to damaging free radicals, inhibiting a process known as coupling that is integral to the efficient production of adenosine triphospate (ATP). ATP is an important cellular chemical that bonds at nerve terminals for normal neural communication. The low levels of cellular ATP at nerve terminals may lead to the loss of synapses and synaptic function, and may ultimately lead to cognitive decline. A child’s developing nervous system is more at risk than an adult’s.

A study carried out by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, found the average person living in the US had 13 different pesticides in their body. The data showed that children and women of child-bearing age, carried the heaviest ‘load’ of pesticides. The average 6-11 year old carried four times the ‘acceptable’ level of organophosphorous. Organophosphate pesticides interfere with the transmission of nerve signals in the brain and nervous system, making them potent neurotoxins. They are considered one of the most dangerous chemicals used in farming and have been linked to a range of conditions including cancer, decreasing male fertility, foetal abnormalities, chronic fatigue syndrome in children, and Parkinson’s disease.