A new study has found that the levels of pesticides found in common foods are linked to increases in the rate of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among children. The journal Pediatrics is reporting that the use of pesticides could not only be a correlated factor, but might also be a cause.
"It's mainly exposure through food. Diet is the driver," says pediatrician and public health expert Phil Landrigan, MD, professor and chair of the department of community and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. "For most people, diet is the predominant source. It's been shown that people who switch to an organic diet knock down the levels of pesticide by-products in their urine by 85 to 90 percent."
The researchers studied 1,140 children, analyzing their urine. They found that of the 1,140 children studied, they met the criteria for ADHD. Children with a high level of the breakdown product of neurotoxic organophosphate pesticides were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Other researchers have recommended that women eat organic at least six months before conception and also during pregnancy.
This study focused on organophosphates, which are designed to attack the neurological systems of pests. There are roughly 40 organophosphate pesticides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. People are exposed to these chemicals through their drinking water and also through the use of residential pesticides.
The chemicals are widely used. A 2008 report found that one of the organophosphates, Malathion, is present in 28% of all frozen blueberries, 25% of all strawberries, and 19% of celery. It is recommended that in order to protect your family from these pesticides, you may want to consider eating more organic food.