If you thought it was hard enough to get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, then here is one word that just might make your life even more difficult: organophosphates.
Organophosphates were at one time refined and developed for chemical warfare by the German Army in the 1930’s in what was called “nerve gas”. Today nerve agents like sarin, the chemical used in the Tokyo subway terrorist event in 1995, are of the organophosphate group.
Organophosphates also exist in the form of insecticides such as diazinon, chlorpyrifos, disulfotun, dursban and malathion. These chemicals kill insects by interrupting their brain and nerve signals affecting neuromuscular function.
Chemists have also known for years – as did the German Army – that organophospates have the same affect on humans. That’s why pesticides like diazinon was removed from the market in 2001. Yet, these chemicals are still making their way into our bloodstream.
The latest research, to be published in the June issue of Pediatrics, studied 1,139 children in the U.S. between the ages of 8 to 15. 119 of those children had already been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Researchers measured levels of residue left by behind by six pesticides of the organophosphate group in the urine of the children studied. They found that the higher level of pesticide residue, the greater the odds of a child being diagnosed with ADHD. More specifically, a ten fold increase in pesticide residue resulted in a 55% increase in the diagnosis.
Since the researchers didn’t study the children’s diet, they couldn’t determine how the pesticides found their way into the children’s bodies. The most common exposure to pesticides is through eating or drinking something that has the pesticide on it.
The best way to avoid pesticides on your food is to buy organic varieties of the most likely fruits and vegetables to be contaminated. The Environmental Working Group has a list of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables:
- Bell Peppers
- Imported Grapes
Secondly, before eating, wash all fruits and vegetables with cold water and scrub produce that has a firm skin with a brush. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that you not use soap to wash your produce as it could leave behind other chemical residues found in the soap. Also, frozen fruits and vegetables should be washed as well before eating.
So while it might take some adjustments in thinking at the grocery store and a little more preparation at the kitchen sink, the results are worth it to a healthy brain and central nervous system for years to come.
– Paul Kulpinski, LMT
Pesticides in Kids Linked to ADHD, MSN.com