So many times we hear that conventional produce is causing or contributing to the higher incidence of cancer today. So, if there was one organization that would be against conventional crop production methods, it would definitely be the American Cancer Society; right?
Not so fast.
Not even the American Cancer Society buys into all of the marketing hype. Based on scientific information, the organization isn’t supporting any sensationalized scare campaigns.
Check out from their website’s FAQ regarding organic food, pesticides, and herbicides:
Are foods labeled “organic” more effective in lowering cancer risk? The term “organic” is widely used to describe foods from plants grown without adding artificial chemicals, and foods from animals raised without hormones or antibiotics. Organic plant foods come from farming methods that do not use most conventional pest or weed killers, chemical fertilizers or sewage sludge as fertilizer, or food irradiation in processing. Foods that are genetically modified cannot be called organic.
While the purpose of organic food production is to promote sustainable farming practices, it is widely perceived that eating organic foods may carry health benefits. There is some debate over whether organic produce may have higher nutritional levels than conventionally grown produce. But at this time, there is no evidence that such foods are more effective in reducing cancer risk or providing other health benefits than similar foods produced by other farming methods.
Pesticides and herbicides
Do pesticides and herbicides in foods cause cancer? Pesticides and herbicides can be toxic when used improperly in industrial, farming, or other workplace settings. Although vegetables and fruits sometimes contain low levels of these chemicals, overwhelming scientific evidence supports the overall health benefits and cancer-protective effects of eating vegetables and fruits. At this time there is no evidence that residues of pesticides and herbicides at the low doses found in foods increase the risk of cancer. Still, fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before eating, not only to lower exposure to these compounds but also to limit the risk of health effects from germs.
However, one thing we can all agree upon is that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for us!
Vegetables and fruits
Will eating vegetables and fruits lower cancer risk? Yes. The strength of the evidence that eating vegetables and fruits lowers cancer risk has weakened recently as more studies have found no or only weak effects, but the overall evidence suggests some lowering of risk for several types of cancer. This includes cancers of the lung, mouth, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), esophagus, stomach, colon, and rectum.
The types of vegetables and fruits that may reduce the risk of certain cancers may differ. It is not known which of the many compounds in vegetables and fruits are most likely to protect against cancer, and different vegetables and fruits may be rich sources of different phytochemicals that may lower cancer risk.
Recent studies suggest that eating more vegetables and fruits may also help lower the risk of developing obesity, and thus is likely to have an indirect effect on cancer risk. The best advice is to eat at least 2½ cups of a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits each day.