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Pesticide Exposure Cause of ADHD?

This morning on AOL Health News:

By Mary Beth Sammons
In the United States alone, an estimated 4.5 million children ages 5 to 17 have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and rates of diagnosis have risen 3 percent a year between 1997 and 2006. Yet it is unclear what is causing this increase. New research is investigating many avenues. One of them is environmental factors such as pesticides and allergens.

In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers studied 1,139 children ages 8 to 15. All of the children studied had measurable residue of pesticides commonly used on fruits and vegetables. Diet is a major source of pesticide exposure in children, according to the National Academy of Sciences, and much of this exposure comes from the common kid-friendly fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, strawberries and celery. In a 2008 government report, detectable concentrations of malathion (a pesticide commonly used in agriculture, residential landscaping and mosquito abatement) were found in 28 percent of frozen blueberry samples, 25 percent of fresh strawberry samples and 19 percent of celery samples.

In the Pediatrics study, researchers found that for every tenfold increase in the urinary concentration of pesticide residue, there was a 35 percent increase in the chance that the child would develop ADHD. The effect was seen even in kids who had a very low level of detectable, above-average pesticide residue.

Unlike other studies of pesticidal impact, this one looked at the average exposure to pesticides in the general population of children and not at a specialized group such as children who live on farms, according to lead author Maryse Bouchard of the University of Montreal.

Because certain pesticides leave the body after three to six days, the presence of residue shows that exposure is likely constant, Bouchard said. The study found that children with the kind of metabolites left in the body after malathion exposure were 55 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Almost universally, the study found detectable levels: The compounds turned up in the urine of 94 percent of the children. Children may be especially prone to the health risks of pesticides because they’re still growing and may consume more pesticide residue than adults, relative to their body weight.

More research is needed to confirm the findings, says Bouchard. But the take-home message for parents, she says, is to give kids organic produce as much as you can and to wash fresh fruits and vegetables — organic or not — thoroughly.

An unpublished 2008 study out of Emory University found that in children who switched to organically grown fruits and vegetables, urine levels of pesticide compounds dropped to undetectable or close to undetectable levels.

Denver immunologist Dr. Isaac Melamed is studying another effect that may contribute to ADHD: the inflammation caused by all allergies including food, pollen and dust. In his unpublished study, he found that the inflammation caused by an allergic reaction may contribute to ADHD. Therefore, he says, by controlling a child’s exposure to allergens, parents may be able to better control ADHD. Melamed says that although much more study needs to be done on this, in his private practice, he has controlled his patients’ ADHD by limiting allergic triggers.

Remember that all of this research is in the very early stages and needs to be studied more thoroughly before it can be confirmed.

So the parents who conscientiously feed their children fruits and veggies are at most risk for exposing their children to pesticides which may lead to ADHD? And the recommendation is for eating organic vegetables? Or growing your own?

June 25, 2010 - Posted by | Family Issues, Food, Health Issues


  1. I think a number of environmental problems are responsible for the increase in problems like ADHD. Pesticides are inside fruit and vegetables besides stuck on the outside. It also means you have to wash fruit and vegetables with detergent, as insecticides are waterproof you have to really wash them to get it off.
    And don’t forget that industrially prepare ”food” is almost denuded of nutrients, so that would not help your children either.

    Fluoride has also shown to be responsible for creating disorders like ADHD as well as increasing ostheoporosis and cancer in populations exposed to it.
    I can’t believe the Americans still add it to their water supply, and it bothers me greatly. It’s such a drag having to buy bottled water for everything.

    Comment by Aafke-Art | June 25, 2010 | Reply

  2. I have family members who feel the same way about flouride, Aafke, but I have seen such a difference in American’s teeth . . . people who have used flouride since birth have beautiful teeth. People didn’t used to have such good teeth. I think dentists are seeing fewer cavities now.

    You are right about the problems of pesticides being inside the fruits, especially. I didn’t think about it so much until now, with a grandchild . . . they are so innocent and so vulnerable . . .

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 25, 2010 | Reply

  3. Fluoride is an accumulative neurotoxin, this has been well known for decades. Except in America. Due to better oral hygiene and dentistry everybodies teeth are better. There is no significant difference between the amount in cavities between populations with fluorized water and non fluorized water. But there is an increase in cancer and other health problems in fluorized aereas. And actually fluoride makes your teeth more brittle. And discoloured mottled teeth are the first sign of heavy fluoride poisoning. But there are no minimal concentrations in which fluoride is not poisonous.
    I think people in the Netherlands have much nicer teeth as in America, but then we have a much better healthcare system.

    I wrote a post about fluoride

    Don’t forget that the spin doctors who sold America the idea of fluorisation to the Americans promised cavities would disappear almost entirely. So you should have no cavities, nor should you friends and family, nor anybody you know. Is this so?
    The only people who really have virtually no dental decay are those who live completely off the land and who have no access at all to industrialized foods, refined sugar and refined grain products.
    But that is almost impossible today.

    Comment by Aafke-Art | June 26, 2010 | Reply

  4. Sorry, was in full Nerd mode here.

    Comment by Aafke-Art | June 26, 2010 | Reply

  5. Aafke you full nerd ,

    did you not know that fluoride is mined in Florida,half the state revenue comes from it. where did you think fluoride got its name in the first place .Florida of course.

    what are you trying to do by stopping the use of fluoride make Florida go bankrupt ,it is not enough this oil leak and the incoming hurricane season , now it is you and Fluoride .

    Comment by daggero | June 26, 2010 | Reply

  6. Aafke, full nerd mode is why we get along 🙂 Welcome.

    Daggero, LLLLOOOLLLLL. The problem is, some people might believe you!

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 26, 2010 | Reply

  7. Having raised a child with severe, debilitating food allergies, I am convinced that the further we get from the source of our food, the more likely we are to be sickened by it. I agree with Aafke-Art. When we went back to eating like we lived on the farm, growing our own vegetables, buying organic grains and grinding them ourselves, limiting sugar ruthlessly, and avoiding all forms of additives, our daughter got healthy. Not surprisingly, we all did. Now, years later she still has to be careful about additives, but she is no longer hampered by severe reactions to food.
    How sad to think about the number of people who truly have no idea about chickens and eggs, cows and cream, dirt and broccoli.
    Back to the land, I say. Back to the land. lol

    Comment by DaisyMae | June 26, 2010 | Reply

  8. Interesting, Daisy Mae, so in essence, your daughter’s health disorder became a family blessing, steering all of you into a healthier way of eating?

    I have mixed feelings about back-to-the-land. I love garden grown vegetables, AND they sure are a lot of work. It is also discouraging trying to be totally pesticide free (as we are) when there are all kinds of critters as eager for your freshly grown veggies as you are, or who just cut holes in them or eat parts of them . . .

    Grinding our own grains ????? Holy smokes!

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 27, 2010 | Reply

  9. I grind my own grains too…..
    I don’t eat a lot anyway.
    I’ve got this modern German hand grinder, but there are very good electrical grinders.

    Comment by Aafke-Art | June 28, 2010 | Reply

  10. I repeat – holy smokes! I have this vision of you sitting on the ground with a stone bowl and a stone pestle, grinding corn, LLOOOLLL! Aafke – do you bake bread, too? 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 28, 2010 | Reply

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