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If you are trying to eliminate pesticides from your children lives through a strictly organic diet new research might make those efforts feel futile. A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that an organic-only diet led to a drop in exposure to pesticides common in food production but kids were still exposed to pesticides from other sources. Previous studies have shown that organic diet interventions can lead to quick drops in the presence of certain pesticides in children urine but those studies focused on dietary exposure instead of overall exposure. Researchers from the University of California Berkeley wanted to get a bigger picture of pesticide exposure and so focused on populations unrepresented in the previous studies. Specifically those studies did not look at low-income children in either agricultural or urban communities but instead focused on suburban and non-agricultural residents. To close that gap researchers tested two sample groups of children—20 kids from Oakland California (an urban area) and 20 more from Salinas California (an agricultural one). All were aged 3 to 6 years old from low-income communities and to keep cultural disparities from playing a role either Mexican American or Mexican immigrants. In the Salinas group at least one member of the household was an agricultural worker. The children ate conventional foods for four days organic for seven and then conventional again for five. Beyond organic vs. non-organic diets stayed relatively constant and urine samples were collected daily. When the scientists tested the children urine for metabolites—molecules formed during metabolism—representing different pesticides they found that while the organic diet resulted in a drop in some of those substances it did not cause a significant drop in others. Unsurprisingly the drops were significant for the metabolites resulting from pesticides used in food production like organophosphate insecticides and the 24-D herbicide but not for those typically used around the house (e.g. in bug spray) or detected in drinking water. Levels of certain metabolites were also higher in the Salinas children than the Oakland children which the authors note is consistent with the kids environments: The Salinas children live in an area where the pesticides are used the Oakland children do not. That could mean that the diet was not an important source of exposure for those pesticides lead researcher Asa Bradman told Civil Eats. The results point to the need to consider pesticide exposure from the environment at large he said not just through diet. When considering risk from exposure I would not say that conventional foods are unsafe he said. If you look at the American diet there is definitely great need for more fruits and vegetables and less refined carbohydrates. If a parents ultimate goal is to protect his/her children from pesticides focusing on diet is too narrow of an approach. This is not the first time researchers have questioned the need to worry about pesticide exposure from conventional foods. In 2011 University of California scientists reported that even the so-called dirtiest fruits and vegetables had less than 2% of the maximum amount of pesticides allowed by the US Environmental Protection Agency. They found there was no appreciable reduction of consumer risks in choosing the organic versions. While the study has some inherent limits—a small racially homogenous sample for example—it might be helpful to keep it in mind next time you are at the grocery store looking at organic produce that can be more than three times the price of its conventional counterparts. Pesticide exposure can be dangerous but trying to limit it through a strictly organic diet might be an expensive—and ineffective—way to do it. The US Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear yet another challenge to President Barack Obama health care law this one from religious groups refusing to pay for their employees birth control. The hearing expected before the high court in late March will mark the latest in a stream of legal attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It will pit issues of womens right to equal health care against constitutionally protected religious freedoms. Seven religious nonprofit groups including the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the Little Sisters of the Poor a group of Catholic nuns who operate nursing homes have asked to be exempted on grounds of conscience from the contraceptive requirements of the ACA which Obama signed into law the year after he took office. The law has drawn the contempt of many conservatives who view it as a case of presidential overreach that imposes costs on employers and reduces individuals health care choices. It has however extended health coverage to millions of Americans. Three previous legal challenges to the law have reached the Supreme Court. Each has been rebuffed if narrowly. This challenge even if it prevails in the court poses a much narrower threat to the ACA. The law provides for exemptions for employers who object to paying for their workers birth control they need only make a formal certification of their objections and the costs of contraception are then assumed by insurance companies. But the religious institutions pressing the current challenge which operate clinics charitable associations or universities contend that the simple act of making such a statement implicates them almost as accessories in an act fundamentally contrary to their values. They are asking to be given a definitive exemption such as the Supreme Court has previously extended to churches or strictly religious groups.