Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Adding Up to ADHD: Effects of Early Exposures

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Adding Up to ADHD: Effects of Early Exposures

Article excerpt

Many studies have documented health risks of childhood exposures to lead and tobacco smoke. Both exposures have been implicated in the development of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. A team of researchers now confirms links between both neurotoxicants and ADHD development [EHP 114:1904-1909; Braun et al.].

ADHD, one of the most common childhood disorders, may affect up to 8% of children, costing society an estimated $9.2 billion per year. However, the mechanisms for the development of the disorder are unclear. Previous research has implicated prenatal tobacco smoke exposure in its development, but the relative contribution of this exposure remains uncertain, and to date there have been no convincing studies linking lead exposure with diagnosis of ADHD.

The researchers analyzed data collected from 3,879 children participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They assessed ADHD in children aged 4-15 years based on parental reports of diagnosis by a health professional and the use of medication for ADHD. They also used parental reports to estimate children's pre- and postnatal exposure to tobacco smoke, and analyzed blood samples to determine lead concentration. …

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