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Toxicants Associated With Increased Risk of ADHD

Prenatal and childhood exposure to tobacco and lead linked to an eight-fold increased risk

MONDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Prenatal and childhood exposure to toxicants such as tobacco and lead may be significantly associated with an increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published Nov. 23 in Pediatrics.

Tanya E. Froehlich, M.D., of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues assessed data on 2,588 subjects aged 8 to 15 years who were enrolled in the 2001 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including 8.7 percent who met the criteria for ADHD.

The researchers found that prenatal tobacco exposure and higher blood lead concentrations were associated with an increased risk of ADHD (adjusted odds ratios, 2.4 and 2.3, respectively). Compared to children with neither exposure, they also found that children with both exposures had a dramatically increased risk (adjusted odds ratio, 8.1).

"Our findings suggest that reduction of toxicant exposures may be an important avenue for ADHD prevention, and they underscore the enormous burden that may be associated with continued exposure to tobacco and lead," the authors conclude.

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