Is ADHD linked to pesticides? A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives indicates that Prenatal exposure to pesticides, also known as organophosphates, may increase the risk of attention problems by 5 years of age, especially boys.
The study followed more than 300 children, and it was designed to look at how exposure to organophosphates affects reproductive health.
The researchers measured levels of pesticides in mothers’ urine during pregnancy, and the researchers conducted follow-ups when the children were ages 3.5 and 5 years.
The results indicated that mothers who had higher concentrations of pesticides in their urine during pregnancy were more likely to have children who displayed attention problems by age 5.
In addition, these attention challenges were more pronounced in boys than girls. The children in this study lived in an agricultural valley in California, and thus had greater than average exposure to pesticides.
The impact of studies such as this are of particular concern to agricultural workers and families living in or near farming communities since they are placed at great risk of exposure.
A new study out in Pediatrics argues that there's a connection between high exposure to common pesticides and increased risk for children developing ADHD.
In the study, 1,100 children between the ages of 8 and 15. Urine samples were tested for organophosphates commonly sprayed on fruits and vegetables. The more of these chemicals were used, the odds of Attention Deficit Disorder increased by more than 50%.
While correlation does not equal causation, these results should raises a red flag of caution while the research is ongoing.
There are about 40 organophosphate pesticides commonly used in the United States.
In one notable 2008 government study, traces of the commonly used organophosphate malathion were found in 28% of frozen blueberry samples, 25% percent of fresh strawberry samples, and 19% of the celery samples that were examined.
How To Avoid Pesticide Exposure
While the research regarding the potential dangers of pesticides is ongoing and we learn more everyday, there are some things we can in the meantime to protect ourselves.
Be sure to thoroughly wash any store bought fruits and vegetables with a vegetable wash. Buy local organic produce if possible, which should have no or few pesticides.
Be sure to wash organic produce too, as it helps nullify other harmful bacteria such as E Coli. Better yet, grow your own produce if possible.