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.
Erica Jong

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Tue, 05-18-2010 - 5:44am
Can you possibly plant a row of privet hedges between your property and his (to try to act as a block)? Granted it's not a perfect solution, but I wonder if it would help.

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Tue, 05-18-2010 - 5:42am
I've been providing a space attractive to barn swallows on my patio--in the 5 years we've had a nesting pair, the number of bugs in the immediate vicinity have plummeted. Granted the kitties don't get nearly as many bugs flying in for their annual summer hunts, but they'll just have to deal--I LOVE having barn swallows--cleaning up the patio under their nest once a week is a tiny price to pay. This year I'm going to be encouraging lady bugs (they eat the aphids on tomatoes and other vegetable plants).

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But sometimes they don't make sense

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Avatar for rollmops2009
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Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 3:26pm
I can't blame you for being concerned.

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

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Registered: 07-12-2005
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 3:10pm

This is a big concern of mine. Growing up, I had a neighbor that used Chemlawn. Other neighbors complained, but she was very defensive about it. People tried to be polite, show her information about claims that it caused certain types of cancer, but she and her husband were adamant that it was nobody's business but theirs. Her husband, along with the men on either side of her house and across the street all ended up with the same kind of cancer. She moved when her husband died, the new neighbors did not spray, and several kids had health problems disappear--asthma, allergies. Purely anecdotal, could be a coincidence, but it's there in my head.

This past fall, we moved. Perfect house, perfect location, have loved everything about the place. The first nice spring day, I noticed I was getting a migraine much like the ones I got as a child. I told my DH someone was spraying. Sure enough, our neighbor came around the side of the house with a tank strapped to his back. We packed the kids up and left for the day. Unfortunately, we have since seem him spray at least twice a week. He has a line of trees he planted along the border of our yards (prior to when we moved in) and he sprays those constantly. I want to cry. One of the biggest selling points on this house for us was the really great backyard for the kids to play in, and now I don't want them playing there. I really believe the stuff is bad for my whole family, but am not normally the kind of person who would tell a neighbor what to do with their property. They have no kids and keep to themselves, and his yard is a really big deal to him. I do not foresee him being at all receptive if I voiced my concerns.

Okay, that did not add to the debate, but it did kind of feel good to get that off my chest.

Avatar for rollmops2009
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Mon, 05-17-2010 - 1:13pm
I think more and more people are going to do that, and it makes good sense IMO.

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

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Registered: 12-07-2003
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 12:54pm
Samantha really, really loves dandelions, too.
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Mon, 05-17-2010 - 12:53pm

I just spent hours this weekend digging up the grass on the side of my house to put in a vegetable garden. I had a small one last year, and it's going to be a little over twice as big this year. I have 18 tomato plants coming this week. My mom keeps making fun of me for "farming" in the city. Eventually, though, I'd love to have no grass at all.

As far as lawns go, people here seem to be very concerned with having only one type of grass growing with no weeds. They spray it with weed killer and other chemicals. I like the clover and dandelions, and all the other stuff that grows in my yard.

Avatar for rollmops2009
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Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 05-17-2010 - 12:04pm
That makes sense. I don't see dandelion at the store that much, but I will look for it next spring.

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Erica Jong

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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.

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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