You are here

Pesticides in Food Linked to Rising ADHD Rates

September 13, 2011

It’s undeniable that in the past decade, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children has been on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, ADHD in school-aged children rose 22% between 2003 and 2007.

Also on the rise is the use of chemical pesticides in farming. But are the two related?

According to new research published in the medical journal, Pediatrics, they are. Public health expert and chair of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, Phil Landrigan, MD tells MSNBC that the pesticides that are responsible for the rise of ADHD are present in foods. "For most people, diet is the predominant source. It’s been shown that people who switch to an organic diet knock down the levels of pesticide by-products in their urine by 85 to 90 percent."

How can you protect your family against ADHD-causing pesticides?

  • First, pregnant women should eat a strictly organic diet starting at least 6 months before conception and throughout their entire pregnancy. Any pesticides that she ingests in her diet will also be in the baby’s diet.
  • Refer to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List to find out which fruits and vegetables have the highest amount of pesticide exposure. These items are very important to buy organic. If organic produce is not available in your area, you can also reference the Clean 15, a list of non-organic produce that is least affected by pesticides.
  • Remember to keep other products in your home that might contain harmful pesticides, such as spray for your lawn or your garden, out of reach of children. Consider limiting your use of the product or switching to organic gardening practices altogether.