Monday, May 24, 2010

Pesticides and ADHD: DON'T hold the Fruits and Veggies

A study published last week in Pediatrics showed a significantly increased risk of ADHD in kids who had higher levels of pesticide residues in their urine. The type of pesticides studied are organophosphates--a type of bug killer that kills insects by disrupting the insect's brain and nervous system. What is notable about this study is that it looked at kids with average exposure, while previous studies looked at kids with excess pesticide exposure.

There are 37 organophosphate pesticides used in the United States. Exposure can happen by:

*Eating or drinking something with organophosphate pesticide residue
*Breathing air that has organophosphate
*Skin contact through skin or open wound

What Can You Do to reduce your child's exposure to pesticides?

Don't, I repeat, DON'T stop giving your children fruits and vegetables; the nutrients in them are vital for growth and development, as well as short-term and long-term health.

1. DO Offer Your Child a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables; this will limit the amount of pesticide he consumes from any one food.

2. Wash all fruits and vegetables well before serving. Personally, I like to use a produce wash called Fit.

3. Buy organic produce when possible, especially for produce with the most pesticides:

4. Take a look at home pesticide use:

Are you using a lawn service that uses pesticides?
Do you use a Pest Control service that sprays pesticides inside or outside?
Do you use insect spray to kill roaches and other bugs around the house etc?

If you answered yes to any of these, carefully consider the risk/benefits to the practice of regular pesticide use to your family. You may want to discontinue or decrease your use of pesticides at home or restrict their entry into the home by only using them outside, taking shoes off inside, etc. You can also look for natural and less harmful methods/chemicals.

5. If your children are in school, take a look at your school's pesticide use policy, which must be made available to parents. If organophosphate pesticides are being used; challenge the school to find a safer alternative for children.

6. If you live in an area with mosquitoes (or in a farming community) make sure your children stay inside and you have the windows closed when your community is spraying for them.

Environmental chemicals can be toxic to children and the unborn. Do what you can now to reduce the chemical burden for the children in your life.

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