Pesticides Linked To Hyperactivity
Prenatal and childhood exposure are associated with
an increase in attention deficit problems.
By Thomas H. Maugh II -- Los Angeles Times
Forty organophosphate pesticides were registered in the United States, with at least 73 million pounds used each year in agricultural and residential settings. ADHD is thought to affect 3 percent to 7 percent of American children, with boys affected more heavily than girls. Many experts believe its incidence has increased sharply in recent decades, but critics attribute the increased incidence to over-diagnosis. Some attribute the increase to the greater use of pesticides.
The newest study, reported Thursday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, examines the effects of both prenatal and childhood exposure to the pesticides, which are widely used in the United States to control insects on food crops. Epidemiologist Brenda Eskenazi of the University of California, Berkeley, and her colleagues have been studying more than 300 Mexican American children living in the heavily agricultural Salinas Valley.
researchers believe that most of the children in the study were exposed to
the malathion through food.
'It's known that food is a significant source of pesticide exposure among the general population," Eskenazi said in a statement. "I would recommend thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them, especially if you are pregnant.' "