Looking Beyond Ritalin: Pesticides & ADHD

by Red Pill Mama · 2 comments

in Environment,General,Health+Wellness,Nutrition+Food

My hubby sent me this link yesterday with the question: “Blog-worthy?” My answer: “Um, duh.”

Here it is: Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD (courtesy of HealthDay via Yahoo News).

I highly recommend reading the full article to understand the association between pesticides and ADHD: the study cited does not show that pesticides cause ADHD, but rather that the presence of elevated levels of pesticide in a child’s system raises the odds of them having ADHD. Simply put, there is a connection.

The most obvious way to avoid pesticides is to buy organic (see Reason No. 1: Keep chemicals off your plate, in “The ‘Why’ and ‘Which’ of Organic Produce”). But there is a larger issue to highlight here, and that is the growing amount of research tied to how environmental factors such as diet and levels of stimulus can cause, affect and exacerbate ADHD symptoms and behaviors. If a child has ADHD, medication is not the only option. We live in a world, in a culture, where kids can be exposed to extraordinarily high levels of stimulus through television, video games and the multitude of media options available: an astounding average of 7 hours per day according to recent studies. And yet, a kid’s only acceptable opportunities to run around screaming like a banshee might be a short recess period at school and an organized sport or two. We also live in a culture where the amount of time that kids spend outside, in nature, has decreased drastically over the last thirty years or so. And yet, time in calm, unstructured, natural environments has been proven to alleviate ADHD symptoms (please read Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, which addresses both the ‘media stimuli’ and ‘time in nature’ aspects of this; then check Amazon or your local bookseller for the myriad book titles out there about combating ADHD through nutrition). Add the trend away from outdoor activity and play to the common American diet which is high in sugar and carbohydrates that mess with our insulin levels and cause energy and mood surges and crashes, lace our good fruits and veggies with organophosphate pesticides, and fill in the blank with whatever research will show to be the next chemical association with ADHD, and one might stop and say, “No wonder.”

This is, of course, a long way from being an exhaustive analysis of the causes and possible treatments for ADHD. But with the information that’s becoming available to us today, it seems that if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you have two options: one is to throw your hands in the air and head for the pharmacy. The other is to look carefully, Red Pill style, at what’s going into your child: through their senses, and through their mouths.

Do you have stories of your own battles against ADHD? We’d love to hear them.

Don’t forget to scrub your veggies,

Red Pill Mama


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Louisa May 19, 2010 at 7:26 am

You will probably find other studies that also mention that the cocktail of chemicals found in kids’ bodies nowadays – pesticides, e-numbers, caffeine, aspartame and other such nasties from household cleaning goods and fertilisers etc. do not make a very positive outlook on children’s health.

The cumulative effect of all these products TOGETHER produce a much worse effect than the isolated chemicals alone.

The solution ? become an organic household in every sense of the word.


Anastasia May 19, 2010 at 7:39 am

Oh, so true!

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