If this study doesn't cement the case for switching to organic produce, I don't know what will. Recent research done in France found that heavy exposure to pesticides can increase the risk of brain cancer by nearly 30 percent.

Researchers from the University of Bordeaux compared 221 people with brain cancer to 442 people without the disease. They discovered that the people who were regularly exposed to pesticides -- particularly on the job -- had a 29 percent higher risk of the disease than the subjects who reported no exposure to pesticides.

But it's not just farmers who are at risk. The research team also found that people who reported using pesticides on the plants in their homes and gardens were twice as likely to develop brain cancer as those who never use these chemicals.

The next phase of research will focus on which pesticides are associated with the elevated cancer risk. But in the meantime, you can make the switch right now to all-natural methods of pest control. Fortunately, there's an increasing number of safe, natural alternatives now available at every nursery, hardware, and "home-and-garden" store. These include "insecticidal soaps" (made up of fatty acids) that eliminate many houseplant pests, orange oil to repel and kill ants, and mint-oil sprays to chase away and kill hornets and bees. All the brands and uses are much too numerous to list here. Check with your favorite store to see what they carry.

And be sure to opt for organic in the produce department of your supermarket, especially when it comes to apples, peaches, bell peppers, grapes, spinach, and cherries, which are some of the fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide concentrations.