CHICAGO -- Parents who want to reduce kids' exposure to pesticides may seek out organic fruits and vegetables, but they aren't necessarily safer or more nutritious, the nation's leading pediatricians group says in its first advice on organics.

Science hasn't proven that eating pesticide-free food makes people any healthier, the American Academy of Pediatrics said.

"Theoretically there could be negative effects, especially in young children with growing brains," but rigorous scientific evidence is lacking, said Dr. Janet Silverstein, a co-author of the academy's new report and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

"We just can't say for certain that organics is better without long-term controlled studies," she said.

The report, published online yesterday in Pediatrics, echoes a Stanford University report last month, which concluded that, while eating organic fruits and vegetables can reduce pesticide exposure, the amount measured in conventionally grown produce was within safety limits. -- AP

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