By Jessica Fraser
December 4, 2006
(NewsTarget) Industrial chemicals are hindering children's development, lowering IQ scores and triggering attention and behavior disorders, according to a new study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.
The study, published in The Lancet, warns that 201 chemicals that can have neurotoxic effects on the public -- and on children in particular -- lack sufficient safety regulation. According to the study's lead author, Dr. Philippe Grandjean, such chemicals are causing "a silent pandemic in modern society," and millions of children may have already been affected by exposure to industrial toxins.
"About half of the 201 chemicals that we list are high-volume production chemicals," Grandjean said, including tin and aluminum compounds, solvents such as acetone and benzene, and dozens of pesticides.
According to Grandjean's study, one in six children currently suffers from a developmental disability, such as learning problems or sensory difficulties. Recent evidence has found that industrial chemicals contribute to such disorders, and are not regulated to specifically protect children, as lead and mercury are.
The Lancet report explains that children's brain development in the womb is highly complex, and growth must occur within "tightly controlled" time frames, in which certain developmental stages must be reached on schedule.
During this development, exposure to toxic chemicals can easily interfere with the process, which can have permanent effects, Grandjean said.
The report compiled a list of 201 chemicals that are toxic to the human brain, though Grandjean says there are probably many more.
"The 200 other chemicals that are known to be toxic to the human brain are not regulated to prevent adverse effects on the fetus or small child," Grandjean's report said.
Consumer advocate Mike Adams recommends consumers educate themselves on how chemicals can affect health by reading Randall Fitzgerald's "The Hundred-Year Lie."