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Medical News and Perspectives
July 7, 2010

Increased Risk of ADHD Associated With Early Exposure to Pesticides, PCBs

JAMA. 2010;304(1):27-28. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.860

Individuals who are exposed early in life to organophosphates or organochlorine compounds, widely used as pesticides or for industrial applications, are at greater risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to recent studies.

Previous studies had linked ADHD with very high levels of childhood exposure to organophosphate pesticides, such as levels experienced by children living in farming communities that used these chemicals. But a recent study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that even children who experience more typical levels of pesticide exposure, such as from eating pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables, have a higher risk of developing the disorder.

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