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Scientists Link Childhood AD/HD With Organophosphate Pesticide Exposure

May 17, 2010: 05:32 AM EST
A study of 119 children ages 8 to 15 diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) or undiagnosed but taking AD/HD medications found that 93.8 percent of the children had at least one detectable phosphate metabolite in their urine. U.S. and Canadian scientists linked a 10-fold increase in the dimethyl alkyl phosphates with greater odds of meeting diagnostic criteria for ADHD. The relationship was even stronger among children who were taking ADHD medications, but had not been clinically diagnosed. Children with levels higher than the median of the most common dimethyl alkyl phosphate – dimethyl thiophosphate – had nearly twice the odds of having ADHD compared with children with undetectable levels. The scientists acknowledged that they couldn’t prove exposure to pesticides caused AD/HD. Their behavior might actually increase their exposure to pesticides.
Maryse F. Bouchard, PhD, David C. Bellinger, PhD, et al. , "Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides", Pediatrics, May 17, 2010, © American Academy of Pediatrics
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