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Pesticide News Story: EPA Statement Regarding Pediatrics Article, “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides”

For Release: May 21, 2010

A study published in the journal Pediatrics concludes that “organophosphate exposure, at levels common among U.S. children, may contribute to ADHD presence.”

The Agency is taking this study very seriously and is incorporating its findings in EPA’s ongoing evaluation of the organophosphate pesticides, along with additional health data. EPA has completed a comprehensive reevaluation of all the organophosphate pesticides, and one of the outcomes of this process was the elimination of nearly all residential uses of organophosphate pesticides as well as some food uses to reduce risks to children. Data used in the Pediatrics study, from 2000-2004, would have been generated while these OP uses were being phased out and, thus, would not have reflected the new restrictions imposed by EPA.

Overall, the Agency agrees with the authors' conclusion that the data do not currently prove that organophosphates cause ADHD and that there are limitations in the organophosphate exposure assessment through the use of a single metabolite from a single spot urine sample. To determine whether a causal relationship exists between pesticides, including organophosphates, and health effects, the Agency is collaborating with various agencies of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in sponsoring the National Children’s Study (NCS), a prospective study of the sort recommended by the authors.

EPA recommends that consumers who want to reduce their exposure to pesticides use common sense pest control methods that remove sources of food, water, and shelter for pests to reduce or eliminate pest problems before turning to pesticides. Always read and carefully follow label directions before using any pesticide. In addition, washing and peeling fruits and vegetables and eating a varied diet, will also reduce potential pesticide exposure.

OP Reregistration and Registration Review:

Seventeen OP pesticides have been canceled since the beginning of the reregistration process, leaving 32 currently registered. Fifty-eight OP pesticide uses on foods commonly eaten by children were canceled or are being phased out. As a result, OP pesticide use on kids' foods decreased from approximately 28 million pounds of active ingredient to approximately 12 million pounds (a 57% reduction) between the mid-1990s and 2004. The Registration Review schedule for the OP pesticides has also been accelerated, with dockets opening in 2008 and 2009.

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