Researchers at the University of Montreal and Harvard University looked for organophosphate pesticide metabolites, an indicator of pesticide exposure, in the urine of 1,139 kids ages 8 to 15 and found that close to 95 percent had at least one of these chemical byproducts in their system. Those with the highest levels were 93 percent more likely to have received an ADHD diagnosis than children with none in their system. Those with above-average levels of the most common organophosphate byproduct — they made up a third of the whole group — were more than twice as likely as the rest to have ADHD.
So what fruits and vegetables are pesticides found in?
If you’re concerned, there is a wealth of information establishing just how many chemicals we consume, starting with the Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program, which tests thousands of food samples a year, tracking specific residue levels. According to its most recent report in 2008, for example, a type of organophosphate called malathion was detected in 28 percent of frozen blueberries, 25 percent of fresh strawberries and 19 percent of celery. “It’s easy to have a dozen exposures [to different pesticides] in the course of a day,” says Richard Wiles, senior vice president for policy at the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based environmental advocacy group .