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Organic Trade Association's Organic Newsroom: Organic agriculture prohibits pesticides linked to risk of ADHD
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2010 Press Releases

 

Organic agriculture prohibits pesticides linked to risk of ADHD

News release
For immediate release
Contact: Barbara Haumann, 413-376-1220

Organic Trade Association (OTA) encourages consumers to choose organic fruits and vegetables

GREENFIELD, Mass. (May 17, 2010)—Following closely on the heels of the President’s Cancer Panel Report exhorting consumers to choose food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers , antibiotics, and growth hormones to help decrease their exposure to environmental chemicals that can increase their risk of contracting cancer, a study published in today’s issue of the journal Pediatrics concludes that exposure to organophosphate pesticides at levels common among U.S. children may contribute to the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in these children.

“Studies have increasingly shown the importance of minimizing young children’s exposure to even low levels of chemical pesticides. This study adds to that wealth of knowledge and arms parents with information that helps them reduce their children’s pesticide intake,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director, pointing out that the use of organophosphates is prohibited in organic production.

The article reported findings from a study examining the association between urinary concentrations of metabolites of organophosphates and ADHD in children ages 8 to 15. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers led by Maryse Bouchard, a researcher in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Montreal, analyzed the levels of pesticide metabolites in the urine of 1,139 children and found children with above-average levels had roughly twice the odds of being diagnosed with ADHD.
As the largest study of this kind so far, it reminds consumers that organophosphates were originally developed for use in chemical warfare because they are known to be toxic to the nervous system. Organophosphate compounds are used in agriculture to kill pests.

“Organic food production and processing is the only system that uses certification and inspection to verify that these chemicals are not used,” Bushway added. “Those seeking to minimize their exposure to these chemicals can look for the USDA Organic label wherever they shop.”

The abstract of the paper published in the journal Pediatrics is accessible online.

For more information on organic, go to OTA’s consumer web site, www.organicitsworthit.org.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.