ADHD diagnoses rose a staggering 3% a year in the US between 1997 and 2006, and a new study suggests that pesticides may be part of the reason why. Researchers analyzed more than 1,100 kids ages 8 to 15 and discovered that those with detectable, above-average levels of toxic pesticide residue in their urine were twice as likely to have ADHD that those who had none.
"I am very confident in the correlation in this study," said the lead researcher, who cautioned that the study points to association, not causation. And it makes sense to study the connection further, Time reports, noting that pesticides stamp out pests by damaging a specific neurotransmitter in the brain. Researchers haven't determined which foods or types of household pesticides are most harmful, but recommend limiting the use of bug spray and buying organic fruits and veggies if possible; if not, parents should wash produce carefully before giving it to kids.