Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pesticides and ADHD...We're buying organic:

Below is a post from our friend and classmate (visit her at her blog). She is, truly, a "builder" in spirit, I hope that you find all of her advice as helpful as I did! (Hi, Red here, reposting this because the links were not working earlier).

I buy a lot of organic produce for my family. The latest issue of Pediatrics just gave me another reason to justify the extra effort and $ it takes me to buy organic produce.

A study just published in the journal found that children age 8-15 with higher levels of organophosphate metabolites in their urine were significantly more likely to be diagnosed as having ADHD. You can read the study as published in Pediatrics here. What are organophosphates? They are neurotoxic chemicals used as pesticides on many fruits and vegetables sold in the US (also in some residential pesticides). As stated in the intro of the study, the major exposure to pesticides for infants and children is diet, and children are considered to be at greatest risk to these chemicals because their developing brain is more susceptible to neurotoxins and the dose of pesticides per body weight is likely to be larger.

Does this study conclusively say that pesticide exposure causes ADHD? No. More specific studies are needed to establish whether this association is causal and not just an association. However, the findings do suggest that organophosphate exposure, at levels common among kids in the US, may contribute to ADHD prevalence.

So what can we do about this? DON'T STOP FEEDING KIDS FRUITS and VEGGIES! Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides and is available in many of the grocery stores we buy from anyway. Plus, the more we as consumers DEMAND organic produce, the more grocery stores will carry fruits and veggies grown this way! Also, as summer approaches, farmer's markets are a great place to buy produce because many of local farmers do not use pesticides (just ask!).

Do you have to start buying ALL organic? Probably not. Some fruits and veggies are (on average) more contaminated than others. You can learn more at, the website of the Environmental Working Group or just click here for their handy shopper's guide (I carry it with me to the grocery store so I know what to splurge on and what to buy regular):

What are the drawbacks of organic produce?
1. It may cost more
2. There may be less of a selection of out-of-season produce at various times during the year
3. You may have to hunt for the good organic produce suppliers in your area.

I have decided these are small prices to pay for healthier food, and I have also found that by doing a little investigating, I can find the organic produce products I need at very good prices at a few trusty stores in the city. Big producers of baby food are also providing organic pureed foods now that are generally available at big stores, or I would make my own purees for my kids with organic apples, peaches, pears that I bought from the store.

We can make a difference. Remember, we vote 3 times everyday with the food we buy and eat.

Press on Builders and buy organic produce!


Right Said Red said...

Thanks for posting this MA, and thanks Queen B for all the tips. It makes oh so much sense that pesticides would show up in our food, and would be linked to all kinds of diseases. The foods you eat are really a product of the dirt really matters!

I just want to put a plug in for shopping local. At our farmers market, many of the farms are not "certified organic" because the standards are really difficult and the process is expensive for a small farm. BUT these farms do not use any pesticides (I've talked to the farmer so I know!), and their produce is healthy and delicious. So don't shy away from local farms and farmers markets in favor of "Sam's Club" just because of the organic label. Often the local farm is just as good, and it will help to create a real local economy to shop this way.

Right Said Red said...

Ok, links are working now, I think.

Just ME said...

I have just recently made the choice to go organic myself. I have been searching for great Catholic Blogs! THANKS!

MJDMom said...

I had read about this study. I really like the link to the shopping list...thanks. I am all for encouraging organic farming and making it more available but I have to wonder...if we stop all pesticide use won't people starve? I have read things to that effect.

Kyra said...

Funnily enough, my toddler is the huge vegetable eater in the household. He loves all of the greens. But I'm kind of on a limited budget so if you're like me I wanted to recommend an article I read recently. This is from the May issue of American Baby:

It outlines which foods are a "must" to buy organic and which you can get away with not buying organic, if you are on a tight budget. I especially like that it gives a lot of details regarding food production, and covers foods other than just produce, such as meat, poultry and dairy products.