We all strive to get our kids to eat healthy foods – we push fruits and vegetables every chance we get. But could that actually be harming our kids? Recent studies seem to point to this troubling thought. Exposure to pesticides used on many foods – including frozen blueberries, fresh strawberries and celery – appears to boost the chances that children will be diagnosed with ADHD.
Children with higher-than-average levels of pesticide, as diagnosed by urinalysis, were more likely to have been diagnosed with ADHD, and those with higher-than-average levels of one pesticide marker were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as children who showed no traces of the poison. The study was comprised of 1,139 children ages 8-15, and more than 100 had previously been diagnosed with ADHD.
ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed ailments in children, causing disruption in both class and home life and affecting self-esteem.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the major source of pesticide exposure for children is dietary intake, and much of that exposure comes from some of their favorite fruits and vegetables. A recent government report found detectable concentrations of malathion in 28 percent of frozen blueberry samples, 25 percent of fresh strawberry samples and 19 percent of celery samples.
Children are at greater risk from pesticides because their bodies are still developing and may not metabolize chemicals as well as adults. One solution is to reduce their exposure to all pesticides by eating organic as much as possible. Fruits and vegetables that are thin skinned, or those that aren’t peeled before eating, are much more likely to contain higher levels of pesticides. Some examples include strawberries, celery, peaches, blueberries, apples, pears, potatoes, grapes and bell peppers. Wash all produce well with a scrub brush under cool running water.