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!