7 Potential Causes of ADHD and ADD

1. Pesticides in fruits and vegetables. Three studies published in 2011 found that women who ate fruits and vegetables which had been treated with pesticides had contaminated urine and umbilical blood. Prenatal development is a critical time when organs, vessels, membranes and systems are woven together. The umbilical cord carries not only the building blocks of life, but also whatever other exposures the mother has suffered. Industrial chemicals, pollutants, and pesticides are transferred as readily as cigarettes and alcohol. This contamination could trigger the onset of ADHD/ADD in children. These three studies were conducted by the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the University of Berkeley's School of Public Health and Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, published in Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Linked to Diminished IQ: Some Popular Fruits and Vegetables Contain Highest Levels.

2. Cleaning products. Products such as the Comet Disinfectant Powder Cleanser ® contains Formaldehyde (1,4,9), Acetaldehyde (1,2,3), Benzene (3,4,5), and Chloroform (1,2,8), a potent mix of proven carcinogens and neurotoxins. Other cleaning agents such as bleach and dishwasher detergents release dangerous chemicals that often react with other chemicals to form more potent compounds. The truth is that mild soap and hot water are the best methods for preventing disease. Anti-bacterial disinfectants are based on a misunderstanding of “germs”. Take a look at Digestive Health Ann Arbor's January newsletter on the importance of probiotics and bacteria.

3. Cosmetics. Scientists from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York released a report in January 2011 that identified a common ingredient found in numerous cosmetics and fragrances as a possible cause of ADHD/ADD. The ingredient is known as low molecular weight (LMW) phthalate metabolites. This chemical can be absorbed through the mother's skin and transmitted to her unborn fetus.

4. Household products such as carpets and furniture. Children that were exposed to flame-retardants such as polychlorinated biphenyl were 76% more likely to suffer ADHD compared with those who had the lowest exposure, in a study conducted by Sagiv S.K. and colleagues from Harvard School of Public Health. Polychlorinated biphenyl was banned, but its remnants persist in the environment. The newest flame retardant used in carpets and furniture, polybrominated biphenyl, may have the same affects as its predecessor.

5. Artificial food additives and genetically modified organisms (GMO's). Artificial food additives (such as colors and preservatives) and hyperactivity were first linked by Ben Feingold, MD, Chief of Allergy at San Francisco Kaiser Permanent Medical Center. Author of books such as Why Your Child is Hyperactive (1975) and Feingold Cookbook for Hyperactive Children (1979), Dr. Feingold championed dietary changes and achieved high success rates among children diagnosed with ADHD/ADD. He was often quoted as saying: "Any compound, natural or synthetic, can induce an adverse reaction if the individual has the appropriate genetic profile, i.e., disposition." By removing potential aggravates such as synthetic additives and produce that has been genetically modified, we can help our children's brain biochemistry return to normal.

6. Undetected food allergies. Dr. Rapp was a pediatric allergist who noticed a drastic physical and behavioral change among children exposed to certain foods. The children were labeled violent, aggressive, distracted and hyper, often burdened with an alphabet soup of prescriptive medications. Removing certain foods, specific to each child, resulted in behavioral, mental and physical improvements. Dr. Rapp quickly realized that undetected food allergies may be causing the ADHD/ADD symptoms in many of the children in her practice.

7. Sugar. Though sugar may not be a direct cause of ADHD/ADD, it still robs a child's body of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and increases blood sugar levels. If your child suffers from ADHD/ADD, removing or restricting sugar intake is a good place to start. Unfortunately, much of the foods marketed for children contain an unbelievable amount of sugar. Paul Pestano, MS, and research analyst at the Environmental Working Group, stated that in a recent study on cereals marketed towards children, “three cereals have more sugar than a Twinkie” and “forty-four others have more sugar in one cup than three Chips Ahoy cookies.” The three Twinkie-trouncing cereals are Kellogg's Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisps, and General Mills Wheaties FUEL.