Women who mostly or always eat organic foods have the same overall chance of developing cancer as women who never eat it.
The word “organic” and the standards that apply to it are slightly different in various countries, but generally it forbids the use of synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers in the production of food.
Outside the organic movement, pesticides are widely used in agriculture, and there are concerns that residues from these get into the food chain and could increase the risk of cancer. But so far, the evidence for this is not strong enough to give any clear answers.
The scientists also looked individually at the 16 most common types of the disease, and found a slight increase in the risk of developing breast cancer and a reduction in the likelihood of contracting non-Hodgkin lymphoma in women who ate primarily organic food. However, that could be due in part to luck and other factor.
The agricultural industry frequently uses pesticides, and recently many consumers have become concerned that they could increase the risk of cancer. While the study authors report that conventionally grown fruits and vegetables can contain trace amounts of pesticides, there is no evidence to suggest that eating them increases cancer risk.
So eating a well-balanced diet which is high in fruit and vegetables – whether conventionally grown or not – can help reduce your cancer risk.