A new study has tied industrial chemicals on brain disorders such as pediatric disorders that include autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ASHD).
Two renowned researchers say that “global restrictions” must be put in place to stop what they describe as “a global, silent pandemic” of brain disorders that includes autism and ADHD, The Toronto Star reported. “Our very great concern is that children worldwide are being exposed to unrecognized toxic chemicals that are silently eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, truncating future achievements, and damaging societies,” the researchers wrote in a review published in The Lancet Neurology.
“Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must, therefore, be tested for developmental neurotoxicity. To coordinate these efforts and to accelerate translation of science into prevention, we propose the urgent formation of a new international clearinghouse,” the authors concluded.
Co-authors Dr. Philippe Grandjean, a professor at the University of Southern Denmark and adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, say that the onus should be on manufacturers to prove that a chemical provides minimal risk before its use is allowed in consumer products. This, not our current reliance on the “dangerous presumption” that new chemicals are safe until they are proven unsafe, must be the process, The Toronto Star reported.
Dr. Grandjean reiterated that developing brains, from conception through childhood, are more vulnerable and susceptible to dangerous toxins than adult brains, The Toronto Star reported. Dr. Grandjean also said that today’s regulations are “woefully inadequate” in the ways in which regulations protect children from ongoing exposure to contaminants present in the many everyday items to which they are exposed, as well as in the air that they breathe.
The researchers included dyslexia and other cognitive impairments in its list of neurodevelopmental disabilities, pointing out that neurodevelopmental disabilities affect millions of children around the world, according to The Lancet Neurology. Some of these diagnoses are on the rise and the researchers stated that industrial chemicals are among the known causes for the increase.
The team conducted a systematic review in 2006 when it identified five developmental neurotoxicants: Lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. Their more recent research also identified manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. The two believe more neurotoxicants are in use but have not yet been discovered.
Grandjean explained that manganese has been associated with reduced intellectual function and impaired motor skills, solvents have been tied to hyperactivity and aggressive behavior, and certain pesticides may be linked to cognitive delays, UPI reported. “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,” Grandjean said. “They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development, and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes,” he added, according to The Lancet Neurology.