OT ~ Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
- Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
By Amanda Gardner
MONDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that exposure
high levels of organophosphate pesticides, commonly found on berries,
and other produce, could raise the odds for
disorder (ADHD) in children.
At this point, though, there is no evidence that pesticide exposure can
actually cause ADHD, stated the authors of a paper appearing in the June
issue of Pediatrics.
Certainly parents and children shouldn't swear off fruits and veggies,
study lead author Maryse Bouchard, an adjunct researcher in the
of environmental and occupational health at the University of Montreal
at Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre. However, "I think it's
say that we should as much as possible reduce our exposure to
That would meaning going organic, buying at farmers' markets and washing
fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming them, she said.
"I always encourage my families to embrace healthy lifestyles in
agreed Dr. Nakia Scott, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and
behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of
and a child psychiatrist with Lone Star Circle of Care. "I think it's
more important that they're eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains
instead of sodas and fast foods and I'm not saying that they're not
eat any produce because it might contain pesticides."
Previous research has shown an association between both prenatal and
postnatal organophosphate exposure and developmental problems in young
But most prior studies have focused on excessive rather than average
exposure to organophosphates.
"Organophosphates are one of the most widely used pesticides in
to protect crops and fruits and vegetables," Bouchard noted. "For
the major source of exposure would be the diet -- fruits and vegetables
In their study, Bouchard and her colleagues analyzed data on pesticide
exposure and ADHD in more than 1,100 American children aged 8 to 15.
Children with higher pesticide levels in their urine were more likely to
have ADHD, the team found.
"The analysis showed that the higher the level of exposure [as measured
metabolites in the urine], the higher the odds of having ADHD," Bouchard
Just how might pesticides harm brain development? According to the
high doses of organophosphates may inhibit acetylcholinesterase, a
system enzyme. Lower doses of the pesticide may affect different growth
factors and neurotransmitters.
The findings, if replicated, may provide another clue into the causes of
ADHD, a condition which affects three to seven percent of school-aged
children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
"We do have a fair amount of evidence about other causes of ADHD," Scott
said. "We know that ADHD is a highly heritable disorder. At least
of fathers who have had ADHD in their youth have a child with ADHD."
"There are also prenatal risks such as tobacco exposure and alcohol
exposure," she added. "There's also a possibility that children who are
exposed to high levels of lead prior to the age of six may develop
There's more on shielding kids from pesticides at the U.S. Environmental