Question from Jo

Hi Debra,

Can I get your advice on this? You’re the only one on the web, that I actually feel that is so knowledgeable and honest!!

So daughter just turned 4 years old, and her teacher has planned a trip to the farm that has a pumpkin patch and petting zoo. I called the farm and they use an IPM program, but say they will use pesticide spray when needed. So they aren’t fully organic, but they call themselves sustainable.

I worry that my daughter can touch the pumpkins or anything with residue and they will be eating lunch there, so that’s hand to mouth.

Would you recommend me sending her or maybe keeping her home. I’ve had 2 aunts pass away from childhood leukemia, and I know there’s a link with pesticide.

I worry so much, but I really don’t want to bother the teacher. I’ve already haggled her about shutting their ionic (Plasma) air conditioner off and just running the air conditioner without using the ionic function. (She’s probably so annoyed with me by now) hahaha

Any assistance would be WARMLY appreciated! 🙂

Debra’s Answer

You actually don’t need to worry about this. One exposure to pesticides doesn’t make that much of a difference. Since they are IPM they may not even have sprayed. Let her go and have fun.

There was actually a study that showed if children ate 100% organic for only three days, all the pesticide residues were gone from their bodies. The problem is eating non-organic food every day. Then your child’s body is full of pesticides on an ongoing basis. But it takes only three days to clear.

I eat almost 100% organic at home, but I also travel and then I eat as much organic as I can, but 100% is difficult. I’m about to drive cross country for 9 days from Florida to California and I’m already scoping out restaurants that serve organic food and places where I can buy organic food enroute. We’re going to bring some food with us too.

While certainly there are what are called “acute” exposures that could kill you immediately (this is why we have poison control centers), but for what are called “cumulative” exposures, such as pesticide residues, it’s what you do most of the time that counts. Feed your daughter organic at home and what pesticide residues she may encounter elsewhere will leave her body quickly.

All that said, please don’t misunderstand me. Pesticides ARE toxic. Don’t spray your daughter with pesticides thinking they are safe. But occasional RESIDUES…I’m of the opinion that pleasure in life contributes to health and sometimes we need to weigh the benefit with the risk.

I’ve been to pumpkin farms and I haven’t experienced them to be a place I need to avoid.

I’m flying on an airplane this week. That’s a lot more toxic. And at the other end I’ll eat in an organic restaurant.

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