Can Pesticides Contribute to ADHD?

PesticidesA study recently released by Pediatrics (the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics), entitled “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides” finds a possible link between childhood exposure to pesticides and a child developing ADHD.  Sometimes studies are able to be dismissed because one says that the exposure levels necessary to be influential are unrealistically high.  Unfortunately, this study finds a link “at levels common among US children”.  Although the study authors caution that “[p]rospective studies are necessary to establish whether this association is causal”, much of the data already gives cause for concern.  For instance, the researchers found that children with urinary levels of a common pesticide component, DMAP, that were “higher than the median” had twice the chance of developing ADHD compared to children with “undetectable levels”.

The Academy of Sciences asserts that diet is the “major source of exposure to pesticides”.  Given this possible link between pesticides and ADHD, is this another compelling reason for parents to switch to organic produce?

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