Alarming research findings from the US could accelerate the swing to organic produce already evident in the Australian marketplace according to the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA).

The study, released this week May 17, has found that organophosphates – banned from use in certified organic food production – may be linked to attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADD and ADHD) in children.
Shane Heaton, nutritionist for the Biological Farmers of Australia, says that the findings come as no surprise.

“This adds to evidence already available surrounding the harmful effects of pesticides on the brain. Previous studies have shown that pesticide exposure increases the risks of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease in older people,” Mr Heaton said.

“In 1998 American anthropologist Elizabeth Guillette showed that children exposed to pesticides are at great risk of impaired cognitive development, and now this study links pesticides to ADHD.”

The research was conducted by several prestigious American and Canadian universities and was based on data for 1139 children, aged 8 to 15 years, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2000-2004). Children were tested for levels of organophosphate pesticide metabolites in their urine.

Mr Heaton went on to say that confirmed links between many common food additives have already prompted many parents to choose organic food for their children, and here’s yet another compelling reason to do so.
“You can have good food, or cheap food, but not good, cheap food. Organic food isn’t a luxury, it is how food is meant to be,” he said.

Researchers also found that 93.8 per cent of those who took part in the study had one or more detectable metabolites in their urine and that every ten-fold increase in metabolites was linked to a 55 per cent to 72 per cent increased likelihood of ADHD.

“While more research is needed to establish whether a causal link exits, many consumers are taking the precautionary principal, and a positive approach, and opting for certified organic produce,” Mr Heaton said.

Source: The Organic Advantage, the BFA’s free newsletter. To register to receive your copy and stay up to date with what’s happening in the industry go to

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