Consumers should consider going organic because pesticides on foods are far more dangerous than was thought, causing damage to the human brain, a major study suggests.
The research, published by the European Parliament, warns of the “very high costs” of current levels of exposure to pesticides - especially for children and pregnant women.
It could result in new limits on pesticide levels or changes to labeling of foodstuffs, under EU laws which require the UK to review its policies by next year.
The landmark study suggests that the damage caused by pesticides across the EU amounts to at least £125bn a year, based on the loss of lifetime income from such damage.
The report warns of increasing evidence that residues from insecticides are damaging the brain, and reducing the IQ of the population. And it raises concerns that the chemicals could also cause cancer and damage to the reproductive system.
The research, commissioned by the European Parliament, is a review of existing scientific evidence about the impact of organic food on human health.
It says previous attempts to assess the impact of pesticides have disregarded too much of the research, raising concerns that regulation of insecticides has been inadequate.