Monday, May 17, 2010

Pesticides Linked To ADHD In Children

New study:
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides, Pediatrics, May 2010

Researchers compared urinary concentrations of pesticides (1139 children) with diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

For the most commonly detected pesticide metabolite (dimethyl thiophosphate), "children with levels higher than the median of detectable concentrations had twice the odds of ADHD." Lead author Maryse Bouchard: "I think it's fairly significant. A doubling is a strong effect."

They tested for 6 pesticide metabolites. Most children (93.8%) had at least one detectable metabolite.

"These findings support the hypothesis that organophosphate exposure, at levels common among US children, may contribute to ADHD prevalence."
MSNBC has a good summary:
Pesticides In Kids Linked To ADHD

The National Academy of Sciences says that diet is a major source of pesticide exposure in children. In a 2008 government report, detectable concentrations of malathion were found in:
  • 28% of frozen blueberry samples
  • 25% of fresh strawberry samples
  • 19% of celery samples
A study in this post found the highest levels of malathion in a dairy sample of milk and yogurt, and high concentrations in:
  • Peanut butter
  • Great northern beans
  • Green beans
  • Baked goods: bread, bagel, crackers, Kashi cereal, Oreos, granola bars, brownie, scone, tortilla
  • Soy milk
  • Ketchup
  • Raw almonds
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
Many pesticides work by interfering with the nervous systems of insects. They have a similar effect in mammals, including humans.


Anonymous said...

That article from MSNBC said to buy organic. Give me a break. Buy organic peanut butter, jelly, bread, milk, yogurt, berries, salad? Who can do that!! I know you've said this Bix but answers like that are aimed at a handful of privileged people. The rest of us have no choice but to eat pesticides and get sick. Farmers aren't going to stop using these chemicals out of the goodness of their heart. We have to regulate this stuff.

Bix said...

What can I say, I agree. I've been saying this. I was looking around at other stories that reported this news and most show a photo of fresh fruits or vegetables. The things is, just because a food is not fresh doesn't mean harmful chemicals have been removed. Condiments like mustard, ketchup, anything made from wheat or soy or corn like bread and breakfast cereals, most beans, dairy foods ... pesticides in them all, often more than fresh because the food is processed and concentrated.

I don't think buying organic or growing strictly organically is the answer. The answer is cutting back on pesticide use in general, and limiting use of the more toxic ones - but we have to study them more to know which are more harmful. The EPA has a huge list that they've barely dented. We can use Integrated Pest Management, less monocropping. There are non-organic answers but we have to make noise about them, lobby for them, buy them. Saying "buy organic" is fueling an exclusive, expensive industry.

Anrosh said...

raw beans and pesticides? -
raw almonds also shows up in the list! - i don't get it.

at this rate we cannot touch food!
and thinking of this many times i loose my appetite

i am thinking - would fully cooking the vegetables prevent pesticides from entering the body?

Bix said...

It seems like those plants that have a high surface area relative to the part we eat - like wheat kernels, beans, small berries, and leaves - have high pesticide loads.

As to cooking, the study from the previous post found more pesticides in baked goods than in raw lettuce and salad. In that case it didn't look like cooking helped.

christy said...

We can lobby about it and fight for limited pesticides on foods but it won't work. We are in the end times where the bible says it will start to be that a whole days wage is how much a loaf of bread will cost. The bible also says more and more deseases will be going rampant. Our cost is up, because the farmers costs are up. The bible also says there will be more and more pestilence. That's exactly why farmers have to use more pesticides. So see, its a viscous cycle.