Thursday, May 20, 2010

Newsy: Study Links Pesticides and ADHD

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Debate ensues as a new study suggests a correlation between children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms and the levels of pesticides in their bodies.
A new study finds that 94 percent of the children tested had detectable levels of pesticides in their bodies. Those with the highest levels also showed an increased risk of ADHD.
CNN’s senior medical correspondent reports large doses of a particular pesticide could be to blame for the increased risk.
COHEN: “They’re called organophosphates, and they’re everywhere. ... this is a very commonly used pesticide. This is the first time that they've found a link between pesticides and ADHD. What they found in the study is that kids who took in large levels of really high levels of this pesticide were twice as likely to get ADHD.”
Conversely, ABC writer Andrea Canning of "Good Morning America" emphasizes the study's claim that even low levels of pesticide consumption might alter brain activity.
CANNING: "...more research is still definitely needed in the future to confirm a connection. Still, the study's researchers claim even tiny amounts of pesticides may affect brain chemistry in children.”
The study’s main author, a researcher at the University of Montreal, explains the underlying biological effects in an article on Medscape Medical News: "It is very well established that organophosphates disrupt brain neurochemical activity. Indeed, their efficacy as pesticides result from their toxic effect on the central nervous system of insects."
But NBC's "Today Show" emphasizes the study did not find a DIRECT link between the two: “It’s an association, not a cause-and-effect, but I have to say, alarming and yet one more arrow in, I think, the concern we all have about our food chain.”
CropLife America, acting as a representative for the pesticide industry, responded by saying the study’s findings are not conclusive and more research is needed.
WRITER: Krysta Brown


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