Julia Baudry, an epidemiologist from the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale in France, led a research that looked at the various diets of almost 70,000 French men and women.
The scientists focused on 16 different organic food and beverage products, including fruits and vegetables, soy-based foods, eggs, dairy, grains, meat and fish, among others. Some of the implicated pesticides include glyphosate, malathion and diazinon.
"Although our findings need to be confirmed, promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer", they concluded in their paper, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Another link may have been found between eating organic food and having a lower risk of cancer.
Filling your diet with fruits and vegetables is known to reduce your risk of chronic disease and cancer, regardless of whether or not they're organic, Baudry and other experts said. Some of the specific cancers avoided are non-Hodgkin lymphoma and postmenopausal breast cancer write the researchers.
"It was only a slightly higher risk and that there are more important actions that people can take to make positive changes, [such as] stopping smoking and maintaining a healthy weight", she said.
We've all heard about the benefits of eating organic food when it comes to a healthy diet. The study doesn't separate people that don't eat organic foods for a particular reason, as they are rolled into one group.
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The most common was 459 breast cancers, followed by 180 prostate cancers, 135 skin cancers, 99 colorectal cancers, 47 non-Hodgkin lymphomas, and 15 other lymphomas. France's Center for Research in Epidemiology and Statistics and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health of America claimed this in their research.
Since most people are not able to grow their own crops, they are prone to buying contaminated foods, especially from supermarkets where they are often cheaper than organic alternatives.
Chavarro also noted that food labeling, particularly in the US, can be confusing for consumers.
The organic food questionnaire was also not validated, making it unclear what researchers were actually measuring.
Though more research is needed to prove whether pesticide exposure in food definitely causes certain cancers, the takeaway from the current investigation is that opting for organic when you can has the potential to help.
In the meantime, "concerns over pesticide risks should not discourage intake of conventional fruits and vegetables", they advised.