According to Consumer Reports,
"'We’re exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis,' says Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.H., director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body. 'It’s not realistic to expect we wouldn’t have any pesticides in our bodies in this day and age, but that would be the ideal,' says Crupain. 'We just don’t know enough about the health effects.'" (Find the rest of the article here.)
There are concerns from some scientists about the affects that this type of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals used to treat our produce can have on our bodies. The World Health Organization states, "But pesticides are also potentially toxic to humans. They may induce adverse health effects including cancer, effects on reproduction, immune or nervous systems" (Article here). It becomes more concerning when we consider our children:
"Studies have found that children who eat conventional diets have significantly higher levels of OP pesticide metabolites in their urine than do children who eat organic diets. In one study, children were switched from conventional to organic diets. Urinary concentration of the OP pesticide metabolite immediately dropped so low it was undetectable. When a conventional diet resumed, urine concentration of the OP metabolite increased to previous levels. When organic produce is available and affordable, buying organic is a relatively easy way for parents to reduce children's exposure to OP pesticides" (University of Washington Center for Ecogenetics & Environmental Health, article here).
We don't know yet exactly how dangerous or the exact effects of consuming produce treated chemically. Scientists are still studying these things. So right now, we have the choice - Do we take a conservative approach (It might be dangerous, so I will avoid it until proven safe)? Do we take a relaxed approach (It hasn't been proven unsafe, so I'll risk that it probably isn't)?
Organic produce is produce that has been treated without chemicals - and many scientists and nutritionists are recommending that we consume organic or mostly organic, for the potential safety of our bodies, our children, our environment, and workers in the produce industry.
It's also a fact that organic produce is usually more expensive than treated produce. Sometimes we have to make a choice about what items we'll buy organic or non-organic. Here's where the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen can be helpful resources.