The number of chemicals linked with brain disorders in children continues to grow


Toxic chemicals may be triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities among children—such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia—according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The researchers say a new global prevention strategy to control the use of these substances is urgently needed.

“The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis. They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development, and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes,” said Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at HSPH.

The report follows up on a similar review conducted by the authors in 2006 that identified five industrial chemicals as “developmental neurotoxicants,” or chemicals that can cause brain deficits. The new study offers updated findings about those chemicals and adds information on six newly recognized ones, including manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos and DDT (pesticides), tetrachloroethylene (a solvent), and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants).

The study outlines possible links between these newly recognized neurotoxicants and negative health effects on children, including:

Manganese is associated with diminished intellectual function and impaired motor skills
Solvents are linked to hyperactivity and aggressive behavior
Certain types of pesticides may cause cognitive delays

Grandjean and co-author Philip Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai, also forecast that many more chemicals than the known dozen or so identified as neurotoxicants contribute to a “silent pandemic” of neurobehavioral deficits that is eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, and damaging societies. But controlling this pandemic is difficult because of a scarcity of data to guide prevention and the huge amount of proof needed for government regulation. “Very few chemicals have been regulated as a result of developmental neurotoxicity,” they write…

“The problem is international in scope, and the solution must therefore also be international,” said Grandjean. “We have the methods in place to test industrial chemicals for harmful effects on children’s brain development—now is the time to make that testing mandatory.”

The report was published over the weekend. It is available at Lancet Neurology.

Mail me a penny postcard when governments in industrial nations producing, utilizing, distributing, selling these chemicals decide to respond to Philippe Grandjean’s recommendation. When they make testing mandatory. When they put an end to human contact with these chemicals and their residues.

I’m used to waiting. Excuses. Lies.

4 thoughts on “The number of chemicals linked with brain disorders in children continues to grow

  1. Melvin Junko says:

    “Brittany Murphy’s toxicity: How daily exposure to chemicals can affect our overall health” (Faux News mind you) After speculating about Murphy’s cause of death being a result of her heavy use of hair care products (a toxicology exam of a sample of her hair revealed “ten heavy metals at levels above the World Health Organization high levels recommendation”), goes on to “Here are some of the common chemicals people are most frequently exposed to – and how you identify them.”
    See also

  2. Austin Train says:

    Re: endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), “Calls to Ban Toxic Chemicals Fall on Deaf Ears Around the World” In addition to their use in pesticides, “EDCs are everywhere, found in cosmetics, preservatives, medicines and countless household products such as shampoos and toothpaste, which are used every day by billions of people across the world.” See also “Dangerous Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in the Spotlight”

  3. Update says:

    “Trump administration won’t ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage : Evironmental Protection Agency rejects proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, despite growing evidence of its toxicity.” (Guardian UK 18 July, 2019)
    “The Trump administration’s endorsement of the pesticide comes years after the EPA under Obama moved to restrict use of the chemical, as scientists raised alarms. Trump’s EPA denied the conclusions of the agency’s own experts, and earlier this year, California defied the White House and announced its own state-level ban on the chemical.”
    See also “E.P.A. Chief, Rejecting Agency’s Science, Chooses Not to Ban Insecticide” (NYT March 2017)

  4. Update says:

    The world’s largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, an agricultural pesticide linked to brain damage in children, has announced that it will stop producing the chemical by the end of the year.
    The announcement on Thursday by Corteva, the corporation formed from a Dow Chemical and DuPont merger, comes after the Trump administration reversed regulatory plans to ban the pesticide and rejected the scientific conclusions of US government experts.
    Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxic chemical that was found to be harmful enough to humans that the US banned it from residential use in 2000. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, has continued to defend its safety for agricultural uses.
    …“Our customers will have access to enough chlorpyrifos supply to cover current demand through the end of the year, while they transition to other products or other providers,” the company said in a brief statement. “Our customers, shareholders and employees will benefit by redeploying our resources.”
    Corteva also plans to continue to work on the re-registration process, which is scheduled to be completed in 2022, and remain involved in the 9th Circuit litigation. EPA expects to have a draft risk assessment ready sometime between July and September, according to its registration review schedule [see EPA Pesticide Registration Review schedule ]
    Farmers will still be able to obtain chlorpyrifos, Corteva spokesperson Gregg Schmidt said, because “there are a lot of global manufacturers out there. It doesn’t just go away.”
    “We still believe that it’s safe,” Schmidt said. But “demand has shrunk” for the 55-year-old product and “it no longer makes sense from a business perspective” to continue manufacturing it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.