Common pesticides found on fruit and vegetables are being linked to attention disorders in young children who were exposed to the pesticides while in utero.
Research from the University of California, Berkeley has just been published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) explainging the connection between syndromes like ADHD and the widely used pesticides called organophosphates. “It’s known that food is a significant source of pesticide exposure among the general population,” said Brenda Eskenazi, UC Berkeley professor of epidemiology and of maternal and child health. “I would recommend thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them, especially if you’re pregnant.” The analyst at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health during the study, Amy Marks, cautioned that “Given that these compounds are designed to attack the nervous system of organisms, there is reason to be cautious, especially in situations where exposure may coincide with critical periods of fetal and child development.” “High levels of the symptoms of ADHD by age 5 are a major contributor to learning and achievement problems in school, accidental injuries at home and in the neighborhood, and a host of problems in peer relationships and other essential competencies,” said UC Berkeley psychology professor Stephen Hinshaw, one of the country’s leading experts on ADHD, who was not part of this study. “Finding preventable risk factors is therefore a major public health concern.”