Boys exposed to common household pesticides were far more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a recent study.
Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center examined data for 687 children between the ages of 8 and 15 collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2000 and 2001.
That edition of the survey included information on both ADHD symptoms and biomarkers for pyrethroid pesticides, the most commonly used pesticides for residential pest control and public health purposes.
According to the study, boys with a detectable level of the biomarker in urine samples were three times more likely to have ADHD than those without detectable traces. In addition, symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity increased by 50 percent for each 10-fold increase in biomarker levels.
The analysis did not find a link between pyrethroid pesticide biomarkers and ADHD symptoms in girls.
Researchers said future studies should focus on measuring biomarker levels over time in order to assess typical exposure levels “before we can say definitively whether our results have public health ramifications.”