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Shedding Light in the Darkness

Housefold Pesticide Exposure & ADHD in Boys

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A new study links a commonly used household pesticide with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and young teens. The study found an association between pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD, particularly in terms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, rather than inattentiveness. The association was stronger in boys than in girls.

The study, led by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is published online in the journal Environmental Health. “Given the growing use of pyrethroid pesticides and the perception that they may represent a safe alternative, our findings may be of considerable public health importance,” says Tanya Froehlich, MD, a developmental pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s and the study’s corresponding author.

Pyrethroids have often been considered a safer choice because they are not as acutely toxic as the banned organophosphates. Pyrethroids now constitute the majority of commercial household insecticides.

The researchers studied data on 687 children between the ages of 8 and 15. Pesticide exposure measurements were collected in a random sample of the urine of half the 8-11 year olds and a third of the 12-15 year olds.

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