A nationwide study reveals that children exposed to higher levels of a type of pesticide found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than children with less exposure.
Researchers measured the levels of pesticide byproducts in the urine of 1,139 children from across the United States. Children with above-average levels of one common byproduct had roughly twice the odds of getting a diagnosis of ADHD, according to the study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics.
Exposure to the pesticides, known as organophosphates, has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems in children in the past, but previous studies have focused on communities of farm workers and other high-risk populations. This study is the first to examine the effects of exposure in the population at large.
Maryse Bouchard, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health at the University of Montreal says, “Organic fruits and vegetables contain much less pesticides, so I would certainly advise getting those for children. National surveys have also shown that fruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets contain less pesticides even if they’re not organic. If you can buy local and from farmers’ markets, that’s a good way to go.”
If this research is true it would be just another of many reasons to eat more organic fruit and vegetables.
So which fruit and vegetables have the potential of the most and least amount of pesticides? See the The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen.
Is enough being done to protect us from chemicals that could harm us? Watch “Toxic America,” a special two-night investigative report with Sanjay Gupta M.D., June 2 & 3 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.