Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.
* Low-income women and their children who quality for the Federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program receive vouchers for foods to help meet their nutritional requirements. However, despite the proven health and safety benefits of organic foods (4,6,9,10), the only organic foods that may be purchased with WIC vouchers are fruits and vegetables. All other purchases must be conventional. The determination to allow moms to buy organic foods rests with individual state agencies. The most common reason cited for denying organic purchases: cost. Food stamps, on the other hand, can be used to buy organic foods. (11,12)
* Adverse health effects in children may result from pre-conception exposure to chemical toxins by either the mother or father.(13) When consumers purchase organic food, we not only protect our immediate families; we also help safeguard farmers, farm workers and their loved ones from exposure to harmful chemicals that could harm their unborn children.
* Birth defects affect about 3 out of 100 newborns in the U.S., and are one of the leading causes of infant death. Elevated levels of pesticides and other agrochemicals in surface water peak during April through July, and coincide with significantly higher risk of birth defects among children conceived during those peak months.(1)
*Farm to school programs are growing nationally, with good reason. They link children to local farmers and tasty, fresh, seasonal foods. Plus they help feed local economies. However, the ideal farm to school programs promote local and organic food to protect children during their vulnerable developmental stages. Parents can go the extra mile by talking to school officials about alternative school pesticide policies.(14)
Six ways that organic food and farming can contribute to reversing current trends in overweight, obesity, and diabetes. A Critical Issues Report from The Organic Center.