Pesticides Linked to ADHD

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A study published in the journal Pediatrics has linked the level of pesticides consumed in foods to doubling the risk of developing ADHD in children.

Researchers used data collected from almost 1,140 children participating in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” including pesticide by-products found in urine. They found that in that group, 119 children met the criteria for ADHD.

Children with substantially higher levels of a breakdown product of neurotoxic organophosphate pesticides were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. The researchers concluded that parents should buy organic food for their kids. Many other researchers stress the importance of women eating organic at least 6 months before conception, and throughout pregnancy, too.

According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), these are the top 10 foods that you should buy as organic, because they contain the highest levels of pesticides:

  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Domestic blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Cherries
  • Imported grapes
  • Celery
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Potatoes

According to EWG, the foods with the least pesticide residues are the following:

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Domestic cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Honeydew melon

If you can’t afford to buy organic foods exclusively, avoid buying foods considered to have the highest levels of pesticides. Washing your fruits and vegetables thoroughly can also reduce the levels.

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March 2012
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