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Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Date:5/17/2010

Organophosphates may alter chemistry of developing brain, researchers say

MONDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that exposure to high levels of organophosphate pesticides, commonly found on berries, celery and other produce, could raise the odds for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

At this point, though, there is no evidence that pesticide exposure can actually cause ADHD, stated the authors of a paper appearing in the June issue of Pediatrics.

Certainly parents and children shouldn't swear off fruits and veggies, said study lead author Maryse Bouchard, an adjunct researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health at the University of Montreal and at Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre. However, "I think it's safe to say that we should as much as possible reduce our exposure to pesticides," she said.

That would meaning going organic, buying at farmers' markets and washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming them, she said.

"I always encourage my families to embrace healthy lifestyles in general," agreed Dr. Nakia Scott, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and a child psychiatrist with Lone Star Circle of Care. "I think it's much more important that they're eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains instead of sodas and fast foods and I'm not saying that they're not going to eat any produce because it might contain pesticides."

Previous research has shown an association between both prenatal and postnatal organophosphate exposure and developmental problems in young children.

But most prior studies have focused on excessive rather than average exposure to organophosphates.

"Organophosphates are one of the most widely used pesticides in agriculture to protect crops and fruits and vegetables," Bo
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