Organic food is more than just a passing fad. Organic food sales totaled a record $45.2 billion in 2017， making it one of the fastest-growing segments of American agriculture. While a small number of studies have shown associations between organic food consumption and decreased incidence of disease， no studies to date have been designed to answer the question of whether organic food consumption causes an improvement in health.
An environmental health scientist has been studying pesticide exposures in human populations over the past 20 years. His research group published a small study that he believed suggests a path forward to answering the question of whether eating organic food actually improves health.
According to the USDA， the organic label does not imply anything about health. In 2015， Miles McEvoy， then chief of the National Organic Program for USDA， refused to speculate about any health benefits of organic food， saying the question wasn’t “relevant” to the National Organic Program. Instead， the USDA’s definition of organic is intended to indicate a production method that “foster cycling of resources， promote ecological balance， and conserve biodiversity.”
While some organic food consumers may base their purchasing decisions on factors like resource cycling and biodiversity， most consumers choosing organic food because they think it’s healthier.
Many years ago， there was a study to look at the potential for an organic diet to reduce pesticide exposure. This study focused on a group of pesticides called organophosphates， which have consistently been associated with negative effects on children’s brain development. The study showed that children who ate conventional diets had nine times higher exposure to these pesticides than children who ate organic diets.
The study got a lot of attention. But while the results were novel， they didn’t answer the big question. As the scientist told The New York Times， “People want to know， what does this really mean in terms of the safety of kids？ But they don’t know. Nobody does.” It was true then， and it’s still true now.
imply /?m'pla?/ v.暗示;暗指;表明
speculate /'spekjule?t/ v. 推测;推断;猜测
Critics of the project speculate about how many hospitals could be built instead.
indicate /'?nd?ke?t/ v. 表明;显示;示意
A survey of retired people has indicated that most are independent and enjoying life.
foster /'fɑ?st?r/ v. 促进;助长;培养
novel /'nɑ?vl/ adj. 新颖的;惊奇的