CHICAGO -- A new analysis of U.S. health data links children's attention-deficit disorder with exposure to common pesticides used on fruits and vegetables.
"I would take it quite seriously," said Virginia Rauh of Columbia University, who has studied prenatal exposure to pesticides and wasn't involved in the new study.
More research will be needed to confirm the tie, she said.
Children may be especially prone to the health risks of pesticides because they're still growing and they may consume more pesticide residue than adults relative to their body weight.
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In the body, pesticides break down into compounds that can be measured in urine.
The compounds turned up in the urine of 94 percent of the children. The kids with higher levels had increased chances of having ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The findings are published today in the medical journal Pediatrics.
"Exposure is practically ubiquitous. We're all exposed," said lead author Maryse Bouchard of the University of Montreal.
She said people can limit their exposure by eating organic produce.
A 2008 Emory University study found that in children who switched to organically grown fruits and vegetables, urine levels of pesticide compounds dropped to undetectable or close to undetectable levels.