Monday, May 24, 2010

More on the Harvard Study Linking Pesticides to ADHD

In Friday’s post, I mentioned a recent Harvard study that linked low-level dietary exposure to organophosphate pesticides with increased prevalence of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.

The study, unlike many scientific papers, is actually sort of readable. Click here to read it in full. Below are excerpts from the report which should get us all thinking about the dangers of our food supply.

And shouldn't it be logical to think that our daily pesticides are causing more harm than just ADHD?

The overview:

Approximately 40 organophosphate pesticides are registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency for use in the United States. In 2001, 73 million pounds of organophosphates were used in both agricultural and residential settings. The Environmental Protection Agency considers food, drinking water, and residential pesticide use important sources of exposure. Residential pesticide use is common, but the major source of exposure to pesticides for infants and children would be the diet, according to the National Academy of Sciences. The US Pesticide Residue Program Report 2008 indicates that detectable concentrations of the organophosphate malathion were found in 28% of frozen blueberry samples, 25% of strawberry samples, and 19% of celery samples. Children are generally considered to be at greatest risk from organophosphate toxicity, because the developing brain is more susceptible to neurotoxicants and the dose of pesticides per body weight is likely to be larger for children.
And a little science for you:
Several biological mechanisms might underlie an association between organophosphate pesticides and ADHD. A primary action of organophosphates, particularly with respect to acute poisoning, is inhibition of acetylcholinesterase, and disruptions in cholinergic signaling are thought to occur in ADHD. At doses lower than those needed to inhibit acetylcholinesterase, certain organophosphates affect different neurochemical targets, including growth factors, several neurotransmitter systems, and secondmessenger systems.

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