Protect your kids; buy organic

I just read about a study, published in the journal Pediatrics this past Monday, that appears to link childhood exposure to pesticides to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, known to most of us as ADHD.  The lead researcher is a Harvard faculty member with a PhD and her co-investigators were from Harvard and the University of Montreal. The reported on a government health survey from 2000 to 2004 that looked at kid's urine levels of chemicals that were breakdown products of pesticides, especially of organophosphate pesticides.

The study included 1139 kids who were representative of the U.S. population and 20% of those with with higher than average urine levels of the measured compounds had ADHD. That's twice the percentage of kids with no dectectable amounts of the same chemicals in their urine.

So what's this all mean to us. Well, my wife, a mental health therapist, has repeatedly told me the country is seeing more and more cases of ADHD. And, I had just printed copies of a report by the Environmental Working Group with a "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides." It listed two groups of fruits and vegetables, lableing them the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean 15."  The former group was highest in pestcide content and included celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cheries, potatoes and imported grapes: in that order.

The data was based on foods tested after they'd been washed, peeled, rinsed, whatever we normally do to them before eating them. Those procedures help, but don't get rid of pesticides and, in some cases, results in the good stuff, nutrients we'd like to ingest, going down the drain or into the compost pile or garbage disposal.

When you buy those foods, buy the organic variety.

On the other hand the clean 15: onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefriut, sweet potatoes and honeydew melons (in that order), are the least contaminated.

We just signed up for a twenty-six-week couples share of vegetables + a twenty-three-week fruit share from a local CSA. I decided if I were going to write this post, it made sense to "put my money where my mouth was."

Think about the issue, especially if you have children or, for that matter, grandchildren.

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