It’s worth noting that in the last five years,
the public’s imagination has somewhat been captured by the idea that there may be common
environmental factors, which can significantly influence our risk for a number of disease
states, such as asthma or ADHD. ADHD in particular is of interest from a potential
pesticide perspective because there have been a very few provocative reports that suggest
that if you’re exposed to high levels of pesticide residues, the risk for ADHD is increased.
Fascinating papers that clearly need to be followed up.
It’s important to note, though, that in epidemiology, these are more how we try to survey large
sloughs of data to get clues to say, “Can we identify cause and effect phenomena?”
In the case of ADHD, an interesting kind of corollary is we have other epidemiology papers
that say high fruits and vegetable intakes decrease the risk for this.
Clearly we’re going to have to try to bring into perspective how we have these two very
disparate findings. It’s important, though, to also appreciate
that with epidemiology, it’s often times very specific to the population you look at, and
the case of this, the studies that have made this potential link, and I emphasize the word
potential, were primarily conducted around farm work areas, where exposures are far higher
than what any individual is going to get by simply going to the grocery store and consuming
the fruits and vegetables available in the marketplace.