The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has associated household pesticide exposure with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The study specifically linked the syymptoms of ADHD (hyperactivity and impulsivity) to pesticide exposure in teen and children.
The EPA has banned the most commonly occurring organo-phosphate pesticides from 2000-2001. That ban led to the increased use of pyrethroid pesticides, which are now the most commonly used pesticides for residential pest control and public health purposes as these were considered a safer choice.
The research participants consisted of 687 children aged 8-15 who participated in the 2000-2001 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES); a nationally representative sample of the United States population designed to collect information about health. Urine samples were analyzed to examine the level of pesticide exposure in the 8-11 year olds and a third of the 12-15 year olds.
The findings revealed that boys with a detectable urinary 3-PBA, a biomarker of exposure to pyrethroids, were three times as likely to have ADHD compared with those without detectable 3-PBA. The symptoms of ADHD (hyperactivity and impulsivity) increased by 50 percent for every 10-fold increase in 3-PBA levels in boys.
“Our study assessed pyrethroid exposure using 3-PBA concentrations in a single urine sample,” says Dr. Froehlich. “Given that pyrethroids are non-persistent and rapidly metabolized, measurements over time would provide a more accurate assessment of typical exposure and are recommended in future studies before we can say definitively whether our results have public health ramifications.”
Melissa Wagner-Schuman, Jason R Richardson, Peggy Auinger, Joseph M Braun, Bruce P Lanphear, Jeffery N Epstein, Kimberly Yolton, Tanya E Froehlich. Association of pyrethroid pesticide exposure with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a nationally representative sample of U.S. children. Environmental Health, 2015; 14 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12940-015-0030-y