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Pesticides and Attention Deficit Disorder

19 May 2010

The APVMA is aware of a recent US study (external site) that reported a possible link between children’s attention-deficit/hyper-activity disorder (ADHD) and exposure to a class of pesticides used on US fruits and vegetables.

The study’s findings are being carefully analysed to see whether they apply to products registered in Australia and the way in which they are used here.

Australia has a rigorous food safety program that ensures Australia’s food is safe to eat and free from harmful levels of pesticides. The APVMA sets maximum residue limits (MRLs), which are the legal amount of pesticide residue that can remain on food supplied for sale. MRLs are set well below public health standards set by the Department of Health and Ageing.

The APVMA only registers agricultural chemicals if the residue traces that might remain on fruit and vegetables would lead to dietary intakes well below the public health standards.

Results of the Australian Total Diet Study undertaken by Food Standards Australia New Zealand have found residues in Australian produce to be low and well within Australian public health standards.

Outcomes of our analysis will be published on our website.

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