A coalition of scientists calls for action on toxic chemicals

Photo Credit: Torrey Wiley Photo Credit: Torrey Wiley

A large group of leading scientific experts, medical experts, and children’s health advocates has joined forces in a call to action to reduce common chemical exposures shown to interfere with the brain development of fetuses and children. Examples of pervasive toxic chemicals that can impair neuro development and contribute to the emergence of disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism spectrum disorder include organophosphate pesticides, PBDE flame retardants, combustion-related air pollutants, lead, mercury, and PCBs. The coalition points out that while strong evidence does exist for some chemicals, the majority of the almost 8,000 chemicals manufactured or imported into the U.S. are untested for neurotoxic effects. Furthermore, even when they are shown to be toxic, they are almost always replaced with a similar untested chemical, leading to a continuing cycle of toxic chemical exposure. The publication concludes “Our system for evaluating scientific evidence and making decisions about environmental chemicals is broken. We cannot continue to gamble with our children’s health. We call for action now to prevent exposures to chemicals and pollutants that can contribute to the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disabilities in America’s children... We are confident that reducing exposures to chemicals that can interfere with healthy brain development will help to lower the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disabilities, and thus enable many more children to reach their full potential.”