ADHD Linked to Pesticides – Another Reason to go Organic

Yesterday’s release of scientific data that links Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to pesticide exposure supports the case for going organic.  The study, published in the May 17, 2010 online version of Pediatrics – The Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics, found that out of 1139 children ages 8-15 years, those whose urine samples contained higher levels of organophosphate metabolites were more likely to have ADHD.  Previous studies have shown a correlation between markers of organophosphate exposure and impaired neurodevelopment (e.g., behavioral problems and reduced cognitive function) in children living in environments with high exposure (e.g., living on a conventional farm).  However, the recent study is the first to see a correlation in the general population for whom no particular exposure has occurred.

Most of the children (93.8%) had some detectable markers of organophosphate exposure in their urine.  Depending on the marker of organophosphate exposure, there was a 55-75% increase in the risk for developing ADHD for each 10 fold increase in urinary concentration of the metabolite (dimethyl alkylphosphate levels). The researchers note that because organophosphates are typically eliminated from the body within 3-6 days, their presence in most of the children studied indicates continued exposure.

Besides being present in the environment, residue of organophosphate metabolites has been found on fruits and vegetables, such as frozen blueberries.  Investigators highlight that there are several limitations to the study and that there is a need for further investigation to determine if the link between pesticide exposure and ADHD is causal.

The current study’s findings highlight the importance of Americans to be aware of their food source and what they are putting into their bodies, as well as, their children’s bodies.

What do you think?  Does this study support the case for eating only organically farmed fruits and vegetables?  Can rinsing conventionally grown fruits and vegetables eliminate the risk?  After reading this report, will you make the switch to organic foods?  Share with us, we want to know!




Filed under diet, eco-friendly, fruit, green eating, green living, health, healthy food, organic, sustainable, Uncategorized, vegetables

4 responses to “ADHD Linked to Pesticides – Another Reason to go Organic

  1. caroleesperry

    This is some interesting information! I will have to share it with my sister.

    She is raising her granddaughter and presently has her on the Fiengold diet. It seems to help quite a bit, but every little bit helps!

  2. Ann Hicks

    I found this article and the articles from 5/18 very very interesting. I have a son who has been diagnosed with ADD. I will definitely go Organic. I once read that Milk can cause ADHD issues so I stopped giving my son (who is now 12) milk with dinner – I couldn’t believe it, but, yes his cognitive ability improved. I will most certainly follow this new info. However, please explain why the large difference in boys vs girls and the diagnosis of ADHD.

    • Hello Ann,

      I found some information on WebMD that might help answer your question regarding the greater prevalence of ADHD in boys. They offer some possibilities. First, they say that maybe it is just as prevalent in girls but that it doesn’t get reported as frequently. Second, they state that ADHD is exhibited differently in girls – girls tend to be more forgetful and disorganized where boys tend to be more hyperactive and impulsive. I provided the link to WebMD on this topic above for more information.

  3. Pingback: Mental Disorders 101

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