Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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Study Alert: Link Between Pesticide Exposure and ADHD
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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As a mom to two young children, recent findings published in Pediatric journal were of great interest to me. According to a study conducted by Harvard University and the University of Montreal, in which urine samples were studied for over 1,100 children aged 8 to 15, for traces of organophosphate pesticide. Children with the highest level of this common pesticide were more than 90 percent more likely than children with no traces to have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder! The amount of pesticide traces were low, typical of what one might be exposed to when consuming commercially grown fruits and veggies.

However, I’ve long been a proponent of eating organic foods as much as possible, and fruits and vegetables are definitely not an exception. Although consuming organic won’t eliminate all exposure to pesticides, it will definitely lower the levels we come in contact with.

Here are some top tips to keep in mind in order to minimize pesticide exposure for your young children:

  • Organic is better. Although it can be more expensive, eating organic foods is the healthiest option.
  • If this isn’t something you can fit into your budget, always thoroughly wash and peel fruits and veggies. Do this before putting it away in the fridge, as kids might easily forget to wash before they grab and go!
  • Consider cleaning your produce with natural products such as baking soda or vinegar.
  • Try your local farmers markets. Local vendors are great about letting you know which, if any, chemicals have been sprayed on produce.
  • Be thick skinned. That is, go for more of the thick-skinned produce such as mangoes, pineapples and avocados (Hass is my personal fave), which have the lowest levels of pesticide exposure.

Pesticides have long been studied for their toxic effects on the nervous system, young and old, we are still waiting to learn more. But, I certainly believe reducing pesticide exposure whenever possible is a good thing. Where are your favorite places to find healthy and organic produce?

Assistance provided by Pam Majumdar

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