Research published in the June issue of the prestigious journal, Pediatrics, suggests that exposure to high levels of organophosphate pesticides may increase the risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
“Organophosphates are one of the most widely used pesticides in agriculture,” to quote from the article.
In their study, Bouchard and her colleagues analyzed data on pesticide exposure and ADHD in more than 1,100 American children aged 8 to 15. “The higher the level of exposure [as measured by metabolites in the urine], the higher the odds of having ADHD,” Bouchard said. High doses of organophosphates may inhibit acetylcholinesterase, a nervous system enzyme, and may affect different growth factors and neurotransmitters.
These findings may provide another clue about the causes of ADHD, a condition which affects one in fourteen school-aged children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Autism and other chronic disorders of brain and development may also be affected by pesticides, though this was not mentioned in this article.
Buying organic whenever possible, shopping at farmers’ markets, and washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly is the best way to minimize pesticide exposure. It’s time to get serious about eating organic from before conception and throughout our lives.