Recently Science Daily published a Rutgers University study on pyrethroid conventional pesticides’ suspected effect on the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. And while we’re as concerned as ever that ADHD is plaguing at least 5%* of youth worldwide, we also can’t say that we’re surprised.
If we know that conventional pesticides like pyrethroids kill insects by paralyzing their nervous systems, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that they might be affecting our brains, too. And as conventional pesticides creep into our lives in our produce, parks, and even in our own homes, there’s now more evidence than ever that the stuff is seriously dangerous and contributing to the rise in ADHD.
With that in mind, here are our top 3 takeaways from the Rutgers study:
Conventional pesticides may change how the brain’s dopamine system develops
This is a big deal. In the brain, dopamine delivers messages from one nerve cell to another and shapes our emotional and cognitive functions. Failure of the dopamine system to develop properly can lead to various problems and increases the risk for diseases like Parkinson’s and ADHD.
Mice exposed to the pyrethroid conventional pesticide displayed an array of ADHD symptoms
Show us one symptom, and we might chalk it up to coincidence. Show us five, and we’re thinking causation. In the Rutgers study, pyrethroid-exposed mice exhibited dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, short-term memory, and impulse behaviors, all features associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The findings offer compelling evidence that conventional pesticide exposure could be an ADHD risk factor.
Kids with higher conventional pesticide levels in their urine were more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis
In a study of over 2000 kids, researchers cross-referenced children's’ prescription drug history and urine sample analyses. The children with higher pyrethroid conventional pesticide metabolite levels in their urine were more than 2x as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than those with trace amounts or no conventional pesticides present in their samples.
So, what does it all mean? Conventional pesticides like pyrethroids are inherently toxic. We’re seeing more and more of the negative consequences of using too many of them too carelessly. Now we know better – and we can do better. It starts with educating ourselves on issues that are affecting our families’ well-being and leads to us finding safe solutions like the ones we're touting every day at Wondercide.