8 Shocking Facts about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

1. Cases of ADHD have increased 30-fold since 1970. The diagnoses have skyrocketed from 150,000 (in 1970) - 4.5 million (by 2003).

2. Nearly 1 in every 10 American children is diagnosed with ADHD. In a recent study based on results from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a collaboration between the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Center for Health Statistics, 8.6% of American children and adolescents have been diagnosed with ADHD.

3. Other developmental disabilities on the rise. Now 1 in 6 children in America has a developmental disability such as autism, ADHD/ADD, or cerebral palsy according to a study conducted by Philippe Grandjean, of the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author Philip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

4. Undetected food allergies implicated in onset of ADHD. Often a food which our body perceives as a foreign invader (an allergen) can trigger a variety of systemic reactions, including neurological malfunction and abnormal behavior.

5. Industrial and agricultural chemicals implicated in onset of ADHD. Though many chemicals are now banned, they continue to exist in our bodies and natural environments. As Grandjean puts in an article on the Environmental Working Group website, these chemicals are “like a debt from the past.”

6. It takes 20-50 years to determine the long-term consequences of exposure to a man-made chemical. More than 2,000 new synthetic chemicals are registered annually for use in everyday products. We do not know how these chemicals will affect us in the long-run.

7. There are over 200 chemicals in everyday use for which there is evidence of neurotoxicity. The list was compiled by Grandjean and Landrigan.

8. There are currently more than 75,000 chemicals licensed for commercial use. There may be other chemicals which also have detrimental affects - it's difficult for a single study to test them all.