That healthy fruit-filled smoothie you make for your kids may not be so healthy after all thanks to pesticides in frozen fruit that may be linked to ADHD.
What kids eat is the leading cause of pesticide exposure and frozen blueberries and strawberries have been found to contain levels of the pesticide organophosphate malathion. And, a recent study shows a possible connection between exposure to pesticides and the development of ADHD.
"The food that most often contained residues were the frozen blueberries, it's the frozen food that seems to be the worst for this one item," says Maryse Bouchard, lead author of the study. "Not all frozen foods contain more pesticides, but we can't really clean them well and I don't know how well they're cleaned before being frozen-maybe not as well as a mother would do."
Regular fruit and vegetables also can contain this pesticide and the study showed that even low levels of pesticides in a child's body more than doubled the possibility that he would have ADHD.
But Bouchard doesn't recommend eating less fruit and vegetables. Instead, she recommends washing fruits and vegetables really well, using a brush. Also, organic food contains less pesticide residue than regular food and fruit and vegetables from farmers' markets, even if not labeled organic, often contain less pesticides, she says.
Children are also exposed to this type of pesticide through products used to get ride of insects in the home, so Bouchard recommends against using chemical pesticides in the home of small children.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
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