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Grow Organic for the Children

Jun 03, 2010 -

Pesticides Linked to Increased Risk of ADHD

A team of researchers at the University of Montreal and Harvard University has concluded that dietary exposure to organophosphate (OP) insecticides increases the risk of children getting attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

The team measured the levels of key OP metabolites in the urine of 1,139 children ages 8 to 15.  For each 10-fold increase in OP metabolite levels, the risk of ADHD increased a remarkable 55% to 72%.  The effect was even seen at the low end of the exposure curve. In conclusion, the team wrote –

“The present study adds to the accumulating evidence linking higher levels of pesticide exposure to adverse developmental outcomes.”

About 4.5 million children suffer from ADHD according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The authors projected that food—especially fruits and vegetables—are the primary source of OP exposures among these children.

The Organic Center has highlighted evidence in a recent report showing that imported fresh produce accounts for a disproportionate share of OP residues and risk.  Imported sweet bell peppers, green beans, cucumbers, peaches, and grapes are among the fresh produce items containing residues associated with relatively high dietary risks.

Source: Maryse Bouchard, David Bellinger, Robert Wright, and Marc Weisskopf, “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides,” Pediatrics, Vol. 125, No. 6, June 2010.

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