The Children’s Organic Diet Study

The goal of the Organic Diet Study is to evaluate the contribution of pesticides on food to children’s overall pesticide exposure, and to determine whether this differs between urban and agricultural regions.

What the study investigates:

  • Whether children who eat only organic food have lower organophosphate (OP) pesticide metabolite levels in their urine.
  • Whether children living in Oakland, CA, (an urban community) have lower pesticide levels compared to children living in Salinas, CA (an agricultural community).
  • Whether the proportion of exposure that comes from diet is different in each community.

How do we measure pesticide exposure?

We measured the levels of breakdown products (also called “metabolites”) of organophosphate (OP) pesticides in children’s urine.

Exposure Studied:

  • Organophosphate (OP) and other pesticides

Findings from the Organic Diet Study: (Findings are forthcoming)
(Go to the Exposure Studies Findings page for related findings)


  • Oakland and Salinas, CA

Study Participants:

  • 40 children between 3 and 6 years old were enrolled in July 2006.
  • We enrolled 20 families living in an urban community (Oakland, CA) and 20 families living in an agricultural community (Salinas, CA).
  • Salinas participant households included at least one resident who worked in agriculture (i.e., farmworker parent).
  • All participants were Mexican immigrants or Mexican-Americans to minimize cultural disparities between locations.

Data Collection:

  • In September 2006, we collected urine samples daily for 16 days. During days 5-12 the families were provided with organic food for the children to eat.
  • We also asked families about home pesticide use and whether non-organic food was consumed during the organic week.
  • We compared levels of pesticide metabolites in urine during days the children ate only organic food with the days they ate conventional food.

Community Partners:

  • La Clínica de La Raza, Oakland, CA (
  • Learn more about our community partners here.

Research Team:

  • Asa Bradman, PhD
  • Brenda Eskenazi, PhD
  • Ellen Eisen, ScD
  • Rosemary Castorina, PhD
  • Thomas McKone, PhD
  • Lesliam Quirós Alcalá, PhD MS
  • Dana Barr, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (currently at Emory University)


This study is in the data analysis phase (2011).
Check back for updates on our progress and findings.


Funded By: Duration: Study Contact:
  • The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Asa Bradman, PhD
Associate Director, Exposure Assessment, CERCH
[email protected]

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