I am often told, in my quest for organic chicken feed, that it is too expensive to be practical. There is always someone who says that they can find me feed for $8/bag, or that because it is vegetarian that it is the same as organic. Cost seems inextricably tied to practicality. Why would someone pay $30/bag for organic chicken feed? Is there a “reasonable” feed:egg conversion ratio? In other words, am I making money by selling my eggs for profit when I spend that much on chicken feed? I am, but perhaps not in the traditional cost model most people assign to farming. I pay for premium organic chicken feed because I am investing in the health of children, my child’s and the children who live on the farms that produce the chicken feed I buy.

Many people like to talk about “making a difference” with their spending habits, about how they would like to help support a children’s charity, how they donate money to childhood cancer research, or how they want to feed children who don’t have enough food. How about realizing that when we, as consumers, pay for farm products produced with pesticides, we could be contributing to childhood cancers in the children raised on those farms? It’s a tough truth to face, but increased pesticide and herbicide usage leads to more childhood cancers. When I am investing in premium organic chicken feed, which I swear my daughter bathes in as she scoops away for her birds, I am investing in my child’s health and in the health of the farmers’ children.

The study that found a link between indoor pesticide and a 47% INCREASE in childhood cancers didn’t focus on those chemicals being used out of doors, but isn’t introducing pesticides or herbicides into an enclosed chicken coop the equivalent of introducing those chemicals indoors, where our children play, feed their birds, and clean the dust, dirt and manure?

In the analysis, researchers looked at 16 studies examining the potential link between exposure to residential pesticides and childhood cancers. They found that children who had been exposed to indoor insecticides were 47 percent more likely to be diagnosed with childhood leukemia than those who had never been exposed. They were also 43 percent more likely to be diagnosed with childhood lymphoma.

“Remember that pesticides are designed and manufactured to kill organisms,” said study author Chensheng Lu, of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. Parents should avoid using these chemicals in the vicinity of their kids, and in places where the kids spend a lot of time, Lu told Live Science.

In the new analysis, the researchers looked at the children’s exposure to three types of pesticides: indoor insecticides, outdoor insecticides and herbicides. The largest of the studies included nearly 1,200 children with cancer.

The investigators also found that children who had been exposed to herbicides were also 26 percent more likely to be diagnosed with childhood leukemia than those who had never been exposed.

The environment in a chicken coop is even smaller than that inside of a house, and to me, a 47% increase in my child’s cancer risk isn’t worth the $20/bag difference in feed costs.

I raise chickens so my child can have organic eggs, eggs without antibiotics, to which she is deathly (literally) allergic, but isn’t it also important to note that we don’t need to take risks with pesticides if we know that there is almost a 50% increase in cancer risks for our children with their usage? To me, that “premium” organic feed is a bargain if it protects my child from known carcinogens. Suddenly, that bag of feed isn’t so expensive.