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Eating organic food can reduce pesticide levels in humans in as little as a week, according to the findings of a small study published recently in the journal Environmental Research.

A small study group of families who shifted to an organic diet significantly reduced synthetic pesticide levels in their bodies within seven days, according to researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, UC-San Francisco and Friends of the Earth.

The study found average pesticide and pesticide metabolite levels detected in urine samples from four families fell 60.5 per cent after six days of eating an all-organic diet.

The most significant declines involved organophophates such as malathion, which researchers said dropped by 95 per cent, and chlorpyrifos, which they claimed fell by nearly two-thirds.

Previous studies have shown an organic diet can reduce organophosphate pesticide levels but until now research has not revealed any impact on the levels on neonicotinoid and pyrethroid insecticides, which the California researchers say are being used increasingly around the world.

The researchers said they found levels of clothiandin, a neonicotinoid pesticide, fell by 83 per cent among the four families, while levels of pyrethroids dropped by 43 per cent to 57 per cent.

Both of those pesticide classes are associated with endocrine disruption, researchers said, adding that neonicotinoids can also cause massive insect and pollinator losses.

Although the study offers a boost to the organic food industry, marketers and producers of conventionally grown food are likely to point to the study's small sample size.

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