I am sure many of you read the article released this week about research linking exposure to pesticides found in fruits and vegetables to ADD and ADHD in children.
Experts say the research is “persuasive” that pesticides are contributing to common learning problems in children. Was anyone surprised to hear this? I certainly wasn’t! I don't think it's the only thing that can lead to ADD, but I definitely believe it's one part of the picture. I am happy that this information is being released all over the internet and newspapers, because I think more people will finally start to believe what many have been suspecting for so many years.
One reason children are more affected by the chemicals is because they consume more food relative to their body weight than adults do, so they tend to have higher concentrations. The pesticide compounds showed up in urine of 94% of the children involved in the study. A separate study done in 2008 actually showed that when children switched to organic produce, pesticide compound levels in their urine was undetectable or nearly undetectable.
Some of the foods that tested highest in pesticides included celery, strawberries and frozen blueberries. This is a good reminder that we should keep the lists of the most heavily sprayed fruits and vegetables available when we are grocery shopping. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource for this (print the list out HERE).
The convincing research from this article is also a reminder that pesticides and other chemicals used in and on our food does affect our health, and it is not something to be taken lightly. Organic food is expensive, of course, but I truly think that it’s worth it to splurge on organic produce if it’s something that tends to be heavily sprayed. This is especially important for healthy, growing children. Remember that frozen organic fruit has many nutrients – you don’t have to spend extra on the fresh just to get the health benefits. The key is that it’s organic.