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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Children's Health: (ADHD) Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disruptive behavior disorder characterized by ongoing inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity above what is considered normal for a child's developmental stage. ADHD can disrupt family and peer relationships, impact academic performance, and reduce vocational development.

The cause of ADHD is unknown. There has been extensive scientific research on this disorder, but it is not clear whether there is a relationship between ADHD and exposure to environmental contaminants. However, many of the behaviors that are observed in children with ADHD have been associated with exposure to high levels of environmental contaminants such as lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

For more information, see the Emerging Issues section of EPA's report, "America's Children and the Environment."

Additional Resources

California Health Interview Survey (CHIS)
CHIS is a new survey of California's population to assess its health and access to health care. The first report was published in 2001 and data will be collected every two years. Data is available by county, region, or state and can be broken down further by race, income, gender, age, and population density. The survey collects information about ADHD medication use in children ages 0-11.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
This site contains general information about ADHD, publications, descriptions of CDC funded ADHD research, and a number of additional resources.

National Resource Center for AD/HD Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
Contains a number of resources for individuals diagnosed with AD/HD.

National Mental Health Institute Child Psychiatry Branch Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
NMHI is conducting an attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder study focusing on identical twins where only one twin has ADHD. The study involves magnetic resonance imagery scans, attention batteries, psychiatric interviews, and psychoeducational testing.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Environmental Exposures: A Fact Sheet  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
This fact sheet, describing lead, PCBs, and ADHD was published by the Center for Children's Health and the Environment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Public Health Implications of Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
A report summarizing studies linking PCBs with a number of health effects, including neurodevelopmental and behavioral effects in children.

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