Pesticide Exposure Linked to ADHD

Pesticide exposure has, again, been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The pesticides are being seen in food nationwide as well as in the home, according to the journal, Pediatrics.

“It’s mainly exposure through food. Diet is the driver,” said pediatrician and public health expert Phil Landrigan, MD, professor and chair of the department of community and preventive medicine at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “For most people, diet is the predominant source. It’s been shown that people who switch to an organic diet knock down the levels of pesticide by-products in their urine by 85 to 90 percent,” said Dr. Landrigan, wrote Rodale.

The Canadian team reviewed data from about 1,140 children participating in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The team also looked at pesticide by-products found in urine. The team revealed that 119 children met ADHD criteria, said Rodale.

The team found that children with significantly increased levels of what Rodale described as “a breakdown product of neurotoxic organophosphate pesticides” experienced a two-fold increased likelihood of receiving an ADHD diagnosis. The team concluded that parents should buy organic foods for their children, said Rodale, which noted that other research has pointed to how important it is for women to ensure they consume organic foods for at least six months before becoming pregnant and maintaining that died throughout pregnancy.

We’ve long followed links between pesticides and adverse medical effects across various demographics, specifically organophosphates and ADHD in children. Organophosphates are found in commercially produce and are specifically created to have lethal effects on the nervous system, said prior researchers, noting that this is how pests are killed. Research reveals that organophosphates act on the brain chemicals closely linked to those implicated in ADHD.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) removed the majority of residential uses for organophosphates, such as for lawn care and termite removal, leaving the greatest exposure for this toxin in children to be found in food. Of note, children have the greatest sensitivity to the chemicals, noted CNN previously.

This current study is the first to look at typical exposure levels in children nationwide and revealed that American children are being continuously exposed to dangerous pesticides in their food, said Rodale. The study looked at organophosphates created to attack the neurological systems of pests, Rodale reported. About 40 organophosphate pesticides are registered with the EPA, which most are exposed to “through food, drinking water, and residential pesticide use,” said Rodale.

A 2008 U.S. Pesticide Residue Program Report revealed that detectable concentrations of the organophosphate malathion were found in 28% of frozen blueberries, 25% of strawberries, and 19% of celery sampled, said Rodale. Malathion is sprayed in mosquito-control programs and organophosphate pesticides can be found in some flea and tick products and have been linked to childhood leukemia. Some experts believe organophosphates are responsible, in part, for the very significant and growing colony collapse disorder, which kills honeybees. Honeybees are critical to food pollination.

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