Pesticide Exposure linked to ADHD

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It has been found that increased exposure to pesticides, also known as organophosphates, has increased the risk of developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.

It has been found that increased exposure to pesticides, also known as organophosphates, has increased the risk of developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.

The nationwide study, carried out by a group of researchers from the US Department of Agriculture, collected information from over 1000 children aged 8 – 12 years. Children with above-average levels of common pesticide by-products found in their body were found to be twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

The only main limitation was that the data collected was a one-off, thus disallowing the study of long-term effects of the pesticides. Nevertheless, according to the lead author of the study, Mary Bouchard, Ph.D., researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health at the University of Montreal, such further studies will probably present an even stronger link between the exposure to pesticide by-products in the body and the occurrence of ADHD in kids.

Although mild, pesticides are designed to have toxic effects on the system, in order to kill pests. Since they are made to react to a certain brain chemical closely related to ADHD, Bouchard suggests that this is where the link between organophosphates and ADHD-like symptoms in children’s rapidly developing brains lies.

Adults are generally exposed to the same levels of pesticides in fruits and vegetables, but the effect seemed much more prominent in children. Although this does not mean that children should eat less fruits and vegetables, a healthier option would be to purchase organic products or local produce whenever possible.

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