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A Call to Action from Scientists and Health Professionals to Reduce Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

By Everett & Associates on Jul 08, 2016 at 09:59 PM in Environmental Issues

An influential consortium of scientists, doctors and children’s health advocates has concluded that widespread exposure to toxic chemicals in our air, water, food, soil and consumer products is contributing to a rise in prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders in children in the United States. The authors cite a 17% increase in learning disabilities over the last decade, including autism, ADHD and other conditions. Recent surveys suggest that a startling 1 in 6 children in the US are diagnosed with developmental disabilities. A link to the published article is found here.

According to the authors, our children are put at risk, in part, because the current regulatory framework requires unequivocal proof that a chemical causes harm before restricting it on the market. Instead, “we as a society should be able to take protective action when scientific evidence indicates a chemical is of concern.” In other words, according to co-signers, the chemical industry should prove a chemical is safe rather than conducting an uncontrolled experiment on our nation’s children and waiting for the medical community to find that it is harmful. The authors also point out that after chemicals are taken off the market, they are often replaced by structurally similar chemicals which, themselves, have been inadequately tested for health effects.

Specific classes of chemicals in need of more research, as called out by the authors, include organophosphate pesticides, flame retardants (PFOA/PFOS), lead, phthalates and combustion byproducts. A 2011 study by the Center for Disease Control found that 90% of pregnant women in the United States had detectable levels of dozens of synthetic chemicals in their bodies, including PBDEs, PAHs, phthalates, perfluorinated compounds, PCBs, perchlorate and lead. Many of these chemicals are untested for neurodevelopmental effects.