Exposure to Pesticides linked to ADHD
A recent study has added to a growing body of evidence linking exposure to a pesticide to child cases of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The US based study has shown that a mother’s exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides during pregnancy was a strong predictor of attention-related problems in her child.
The researchers tracked the development of more than 300 Mexican American children living in the Salinas Valley farming region, after first testing their mothers for OP traces in the urine during pregnancy.
The findings follow the May release of another US-based study which found among 1,100 children, aged 8 to 15, those with higher OP residue levels were roughly twice as likely to have ADHD.
“These studies provide a growing body of evidence that OP pesticide exposure can impact human neurodevelopment, particularly among children,” said Professor Brenda Eskenazi, from the University of California, Berkeley, and lead researcher on the later study.
“We were especially interested in prenatal exposure because that is the period when a baby’s nervous system is developing the most.
“It is known that food is a significant source of pesticide exposure among the general population,” she said.
“I would recommend thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them, especially if you’re pregnant.”
Australia toxicology experts said latest research findings were “not a surprise” as they confirmed the emerging OP-ADHD link.
“OP pesticides are widely used in Australian agriculture, and all are known to be neurologically active,” University of NSW Professor of Toxicology Chris Winder said.
“It has been known for many years that hyperactivity conditions can arise in children from chemical exposures such as lead, tobacco smoke, phthalates, sodium benzoate, food dyes and some pesticides.”
“OP pesticides are widely used in Australian agriculture, and all are known to be neurologically active”… so why are we still using them?
Basically, the end result of this study is to highlight that all pesticides used on Australian fruit and vegetables are dangerous to the neurological system. This is especially significant for pregnant women.
It’s true that the food that pregnant women eat will feed the foetus – but this doesn’t just stop at the healthy food. The chemicals and pesticides that you eat will be passed onto the baby, and as seen in this study, these dangerous additives can adversely affect the unborn child.
ADHD is a serious condition that causes much trouble and heartbreak for a family. However, if this condition can be avoided with small measures like eliminating pesticides from the diet, then surely it is well worth the effort.
Eat organic as much as possible. If it is not in the budget, still continue to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, but wash the food thoroughly. This can help to eliminate most of the pesticides on the food.
If possible, buy fresh from the markets or farmer’s stalls. This way you can ensure that the food you are buying is fresh (and not held in storage for months on end!)
It is crucial to maintain a healthy diet, especially when pregnant. Small measures, like washing your fruit and vegies will help to reduce the ‘chemical load’ you consume. Little steps can result in a big health change.
What else can I do?
There are several ways you – and your baby – can stay healthy naturally.
The avoidance of ADHD and enhancement of brain development should be high on the priority list when you are pregnant. Here are a few natural ways to ensure the health of you and the baby.
- Fish Oil. Fish oil is a great natural anti-inflammatory, and is also ideal for joint, hair, skin and nail health. For expectant mothers, fish oil can help to lower the risk of pre-eclampsia and postpartum depression.The DHA in fish oil is especially important for your baby. DHA is vital for the development and function of the brain, coordination and vocabulary. DHA is also beneficial for the central nervous system and eye formation.
Using a great fish oil supplement, like Bioceuticals Ultra Clean EPA/DHA before, during and after pregnancy is an ideal way to help avoid ADHD and other disorders. For more great fish oil supplements, visit Emed’s Best Fish Oils.
- Pregnancy-specific multivitamin. Both the mother and baby benefit greatly from the nutrients contained in a multivitamin. A pregnancy-specific multivitamin, like Eagle’s Tresos Natal, helps to support both mother and child before, during and after pregnancy. This multivitamin also contains an ideal amount of folic acid to support the baby’s growth.
- Natural skin care. Everyday we are exposed to countless chemicals. Smothering ourselves in chemical based shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, make-up, perfume etc. only adds to the already-high chemical load. Not only are these chemicals bad for us – they are also being fed to your baby.Choosing natural skin-care products, like Avalon Organics or Al’chemy and A’kin helps to reduce the chemical load by replacing dangerous additives with natural ingredients. Click on the links above for more information.
- Take an antioxidant. Reduce the level of toxins in your body by taking a natural anti-oxidant everyday. A supplement like Bioceuticals AntiOx Excel help to ‘seek out’ the harmful toxins and neutralise them before they can do any damage.
- Keep up the exercise. Exercise is essential for the health of you and your baby. Exercising daily will help to eliminate toxins, keep up your metabolism and boost heart health – all of which are essential for a healthy baby.