Monday, June 8, 2015

Pesticides Linked to ADHD

Researchers found an association between exposure to pyrethroid pesticides and ADHD, as well as ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity and impulsivity.

The link between the pesticides and ADHD was stronger in boys than in girls, according to the findings published online in the journal Environmental Health.

However, researchers only found an association between pesticides and ADHD. The study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Pyrethroid pesticides – considered safer than organophosphate pesticides – are the most widely used pesticides for home and public health pest control, and their use in agriculture is increasing, according to the researchers.

“Given the growing use of pyrethroid pesticides and the perception that they may represent a safe alternative, our findings may be of considerable public health importance,” study corresponding author Dr. Tanya Froehlich, a developmental pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, said in a hospital news release.

She and her colleagues analyzed data from nearly 700 children between the ages of 8 and 15. The children had taken part in the 2000-2001 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The researchers looked at levels of 3-PBA – a chemical indicator of exposure to pyrethroids – in the children’s urine.

Boys with detectable levels of 3-PBA in their urine were three times more likely to have ADHD than those without detectable 3-PBA. For every 10-fold increase in 3-PBA levels in boys, there was a 50% increased risk for hyperactivity and impulsivity – both symptoms of ADHD.

In girls, levels of 3-PBA were not associated with increased risk of ADHD or symptoms of the disorder.

“Our study assessed pyrethroid exposure using 3-PBA concentrations in a single urine sample,” Froehlich said. But because these chemical don’t stay in the body for long, she suggested that future studies need to take multiple measurements over time. Such studies would need to be done before “we can say definitively whether our results have public health ramifications,” she said.

Previous studies have found that pyrethroid exposure increases hyperactivity, impulsivity and abnormalities in the dopamine system in male mice, according to the researchers. Dopamine is a brain chemical believed to play a role in many activities, including those that govern ADHD, the researchers said.

My Take:
Parents, especially those with boys diagnosed with ADHD, or exhibiting any ADHD symptoms, take note of this study.

ADHD is multifactorial. Obviously, boys are much more vulnerable than girls. Please review my blog “Kids with Autism Have Extra Brain Connections” posted on August 29, 2014. These extra brain connections are present in ADHD as well. Additionally, my blog “1 in 13 US Schoolkids Take Psych Meds” posted on May 5, 2104 will add some insight into ADHD.

What scares me about this study is that the data is almost 15 years old and pyrethroid use has grown exponentially since that time. Coincidentally, so has ADHD. The studies on these chemicals base the safety of their use on the fact that the chemicals don’t stay in the body for long. This was the claim for over 800 biphenyls still in use today, which we now know are estrogen disruptors.

The Bottom Line:
If you have a child with any ADHD symptoms, please review the pesticides that are used around your home. Eliminate any that contain pyrethroid.

Source: June 3, 2015 National Institutes of Health

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