Pesticides linked to neuro-disorder

Chemicals in food may trigger attention deficit hyperactivity   

By Vibha Varshney
Published: Tuesday 15 June 2010

Here is a reason why people should eat organically grown food. A study in the US has linked attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (adhd) in children to pesticide residues in commercially grown fruits and vegetables they consume. Till now the disorder was either labelled as a hereditary disease or linked to exposure to tobacco and alcohol before birth.

Researchers at the Harvard University and the Montreal University in Canada said the presence of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides in food could be one of the factors triggering adhd. The researchers studied 1,139 children aged between 8 and 15 and found that children with high levels of metabolites of organophosphate pesticides in their urine were more prone to adhd. These children were a part of the national health and nutrition examination survey in the US during 2000 and 2004. The results, reported in the June issue of Pediatrics, for the first time shows even low pesticide levels in food can cause neurological problems.

Organophosphates are one of the most widely used pesticides in agriculture. In most countries, a large number of pesticides and growth regulators remain unregulated. For instance, the consignments of Indian grapes that were rejected by the EU in April contained chlormequat chloride, a growth regulator not screened in India (see ‘EU rejects Indian grapes’, Down To Earth, May 16-31).

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