A new Canadian study published in Pediatrics studied pesticide levels in children and found those with the highest levels were twice as likely to have symptoms for ADHD/ADD.
What Are Pesticides?
Pesticides are used to protect crops from bugs that would otherwise destroy crops, or cause them to look unsightly/unsellable. Different pesticides have been found to be hormone disruptors (causing early puberty, infertility, or otherwise affecting growth/reproduction), neurotoxins, or otherwise damaging to organs.
The damaging effects of pesticides are unsurprising, since that is the effect they are meant to have on the bugs/insects that eat crops, although in small doses pesticides are allegedly safe.
Unfortunately, exposure to pesticides comes steadily from food, drinking water, and the home (some communities will occasionally spray for certain pests, even if the individual homeowner tries to avoid pesticides).
It is suspected that it is the neurotoxic ability of pesticides that causes the connection to ADD/ADHD.
Switching to an organic diet reduces pesticide output in urine by up to 90%, and organic foods often contain less preservatives (or none, depending on the claim…check labels carefully!).
Soft skinned fruit (berries, apples) are the most contaminated. If you can’t afford to buy all organic, focus on berries and meat. Bananas shouldn’t need to be sprayed with pesticides, but sometimes they are sprayed with a chemical that organically ripens them (off the tree), or preserves them. Buying produce in season is a good way to avoid this.
When it comes to pests in the home, (and bed bugs are expected to sweep the nation) there’s one important thing you should know: like antibiotic resistance, pests, including parasites and garden ruining bugs, are becoming resistant to pesticides.
You may know that herbicides and pesticides are often used in conjunction with genetically modified foods (GMO), and that’s partly why. Many foods are genetically modified to withstand and amplify stronger herbicides and pesticides, to combat the growing resistance.
Of course, there’s always a natural solution! But it usually requires more effort and cost. In your own home, keep pests out by planting aromatic herbs around the perimeter of your house. It’s fortunate that things that smell good to us can often be used to drive pests away, including mint and lavender.
If they invade, effort is required to steam and hot wash all fabrics repeatedly until no pests have appeared for a few weeks (depending on their egg cycles).
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