Ask the Experts

Pesticide Exposure and ADHD

“Do the pesticides and other chemicals found in non-organic foods affect my ADHD symptoms?”

There is good evidence that pesticide exposure will increase the likelihood of a child having ADHD. In one study1 of more than 1,100 children, those with higher levels of pesticides in their urine were more than twice as likely to have ADHD as those with lower levels. So far, however, we do not have research to show that decreasing pesticide exposure will improve ADHD symptoms in children or adults who already have ADHD.

My recommendation for those with ADHD is to limit pesticide exposure as much as possible. Buy organic food, especially fruits and vegetables, if you can afford it. Avoid foods with the highest levels of pesticides. You can find that information at ewg.org/foodnews/list.php.


1 Bouchard, M. F., et al. “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides.” Pediatrics, vol. 125, no. 6, 2010, doi:10.1542/peds.2009-3058.

Leave a Reply