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Study Finds Pesticide-Free Diet May be Beneficial for Children

SEATTLE, Dec - If you include organic foods in your holiday menu, you'll be in step with the latest food trends, according to industry polls. And you may also be doing your children's health a favor. Parents who feed their children organically grown food can substantially lower the levels of pesticide residues to which their kids are exposed, according to a new study.

Even before the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "organic" seal went into effect last October, which certifies foods grown free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones and genetically-engineered substances, Alexandra Ramdin decided to give organic foods a try.

"Nothing had been conclusively proven showing organic food to be healthier or more nutritious," says Ramdin, a Seattle mother of two daughters, ages 2 and 5. "But I decided to give organic the benefit of the doubt."

Now, having enrolled in a study that tested children to determine whether eating organic food reduced their exposure to pesticides, Ramdin is even more certain about her choice.

She and a neighbor, whose family eats a conventional diet, were among 40 households who kept food diaries of their children for three days, then collected their kids' urine for analysis. The study by researchers at the University of Washington concluded that children fed a diet of organic foods were exposed to far fewer - six to nine times less - toxic pesticides than children fed a conventional diet.

"Buying organic makes me feel good, that I'm doing something good for the land," says Ramdin. "But it's great to hear that there are real differences in what chemicals my children were exposed to."