Pesticides and ADHD

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Registered: 02-24-2009
Pesticides and ADHD
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Mon, 05-17-2010 - 7:05am

Since organic food and ADHD have both been subjects here, I thought I would post an article about a possible link between this pesticide and ADHD. Apparently the pesticide in question has also been sprayed frequently, from planes, over suburban areas to kill insects (according to wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malathion ).

Research links pesticides with ADHD in children
By CARLA K. JOHNSON (AP) – 6 hours ago

CHICAGO — A new analysis of U.S. health data links children's attention-deficit disorder with exposure to common pesticides used on fruits and vegetables.

While the study couldn't prove that pesticides used in agriculture contribute to childhood learning problems, experts said the research is persuasive.

"I would take it quite seriously," said Virginia Rauh of Columbia University, who has studied prenatal exposure to pesticides and wasn't involved in the new study.
More research will be needed to confirm the tie, she said.

Children may be especially prone to the health risks of pesticides because they're still growing and they may consume more pesticide residue than adults relative to their body weight.

In the body, pesticides break down into compounds that can be measured in urine. Almost universally, the study found detectable levels: The compounds turned up in the urine of 94 percent of the children.

The kids with higher levels had increased chances of having ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, a common problem that causes students to have trouble in school. The findings were published Monday in Pediatrics.

The children may have eaten food treated with pesticides, breathed it in the air or swallowed it in their drinking water. The study didn't determine how they were exposed. Experts said it's likely children who don't live near farms are exposed through what they eat.

"Exposure is practically ubiquitous. We're all exposed," said lead author Maryse Bouchard of the University of Montreal.

She said people can limit their exposure by eating organic produce. Frozen blueberries, strawberries and celery had more pesticide residue than other foods in one government report.

A 2008 Emory University study found that in children who switched to organically grown fruits and vegetables, urine levels of pesticide compounds dropped to undetectable or close to undetectable levels.

Because of known dangers of pesticides in humans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits how much residue can stay on food. But the new study shows it's possible even tiny, allowable amounts of pesticide may affect brain chemistry, Rauh said.

The exact causes behind the children's reported ADHD though are unclear. Any number of factors could have caused the symptoms and the link with pesticides could be by chance.

The new findings are based on one-time urine samples in 1,139 children and interviews with their parents to determine which children had ADHD. The children, ages 8 to 15, took part in a government health survey in 2000-2004.

As reported by their parents, about 150 children in the study either showed the severe inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity characteristic of ADHD, or were taking drugs to treat it.

The study dealt with one common type of pesticide called organophosphates. Levels of six pesticide compounds were measured. For the most frequent compound detected, 20 percent of the children with above-average levels had ADHD. In children with no detectable amount in their urine, 10 percent had ADHD.

"This is a well conducted study," said Dr. Lynn Goldman of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former EPA administrator.
Relying on one urine sample for each child, instead of multiple samples over time, wasn't ideal, Goldman said.

The study provides more evidence that the government should encourage farmers to switch to organic methods, said Margaret Reeves, senior scientist with the Pesticide Action Network, an advocacy group that's been working to end the use of many pesticides.

"It's unpardonable to allow this exposure to continue," Reeves said.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iTYBGK4Q5G80gbPU-TZdXuWRyNTQD9FOBV881

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If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
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Registered: 06-24-2008
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 8:11am
That does it for me. I sometimes buy organic fruit - now I will exclusively.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' -Kahlil Gibran



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Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 8:18am

I buy mostly organic produce, as well as flour and cereals, mostly for reasons of taste; however I also believe that any chemical brew that is toxic to little critters can't be all that good for big ones, either. Just as the effects of Chernobyl and Nagasaki are still being felt generations later, I imagine the full effects of pesticide use won't really be known for decades, so why take chances?


Avatar for rollmops2009
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Mon, 05-17-2010 - 8:36am
Oh, I hear you, but I never took it too seriously, given that there did not seem to be much evidence of actual harm. I do buy a bunch of organic stuff, but mostly for taste and convenience (stuff I can only get in the organic place), and also because I consider organic farming better for the soil and groundwater. This study, however, does seem to point to demonstrable harm.

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Erica Jong

Avatar for rollmops2009
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Mon, 05-17-2010 - 8:38am
Yes, gardening is also looking more and more alluring. Which, BTW, made me wonder about those perfectly manicured, green, suburban lawns. Don't people use pesticides on those?

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Erica Jong

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Registered: 06-24-2008
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 8:43am

If I didn't totally hate gardening I'd consider it.

I'm not sure about lawns. I'm sure a lot use pesticides, but with little kids I never wanted pesticides on my lawn. Even with older kids, I'd just prefer not. Ours looks pretty nice and we do not use any pesticides, we just mow a lot. If we go long without mowing we get a heck of a lot of dandelions popping up everywhere.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' -Kahlil Gibran



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Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 8:53am

LOL! I totally hate gardening too. Bugs, dirt, poison ivy, you name it, I hate it. We joined a CSA instead so that we can get good organic produce instead of having to grow it ourselves.


We've got a well, so there's no way I'd use pesticides on our lawn. Our lawn dude uses organic fertilizer. We still get dandelions and clover, but I don't think those look bad at all.

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Registered: 06-24-2008
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 9:10am

We have a well too, so I guess that could be why we don't use pesticides! Not sure if dh used them before he lived in a house with a well, I never asked, I figured we are of the same mind since I don't like them on lawns and he never said anything about putting them on our lawn. lol.

The dandelions are good, the little ones can pick them endlessly. "Look mom, another one! And there's another one! And another one!" and so on and so forth.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' -Kahlil Gibran



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Avatar for rollmops2009
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Mon, 05-17-2010 - 10:41am
I loved dandelions as a kid. When they became all fluffy, we would blow the seeds off the stem, and if you managed to blow them all off, you could make a wish. My father also used to try to convince my mother to cook the leaves. He is an inveterate back-to-nature do-it-yourselfer @@ I like dandelion greens, but the ones in our lawn were way too tough and bitter.

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If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
Erica Jong

Avatar for mom34101
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 11:37am

I love gardening, but when we moved to our current house, we joined a CSA because we don't have room for a huge garden (and I frankly don't have time anymore). The stuff we get from the CSA is awesome, though, and much more variety than what we had room for even at our old house.

We're in a western state where water is an issue, so I'm always suspicious that people with perfect lawns must be violating the water restrictions. Xericscape (sp?)landscaping is very popular here.

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Registered: 08-29-2002
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 12:01pm

The trick with dandelion leaves is to use them before the plant starts to develop a flower (so very early spring). Used at the right season in the right way, dandelion salad is absolutely delicious. My MIL often makes it in early spring; it's one of my favorite salads.

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