Toxins may play ADHD role

November 23, 2009 2:31:20 PM PST
The causes of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, are still largely unknown. But new research suggests that some common toxins may play a role. Those environmental toxins are tobacco smoke and lead. New research in the journal Pediatrics says the chemicals could harm a child's developing brain so that it becomes difficult for them to focus.

Doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital examined data from a national health survey. Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy and those with higher amounts of lead in their blood had more than double the risk for ADHD. But, when combined, the two toxins increased ADHD risk by 8 times.

Although the study was not designed to prove that smoke or lead actually cause the disorder, researchers say the take home message is clear. They want parents to rid their homes of lead and moms to stop smoking before becoming pregnant.