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43645Generation toxic

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  • Teresa Binstock
    Nov 26, 2013
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      Generation toxic.

      By Florence Williams
      OnEarth
      26 November 2013

      We’ve known for years that lead seriously impairs early childhood development. Now scientists are finding that our kids’ brains are at risk from a barrage of other common chemicals.

      Every day, America’s pregnant women and young children are exposed to a trifecta of suspected neurotoxicants in the form of pesticides (mostly via food and water but also home, lawn, and farm applications), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH (mostly via exposure to vehicle exhaust), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs (flame retardants, mostly in upholstered furniture and electronics).

      The CDC routinely samples Americans for these and other industrial by-products in our bodies, so we know their reach is pervasive. But we are not all equally exposed, and some of us appear to be more vulnerable to them for reasons that may include genetic susceptibility, poor nutrition, stress, and age....

      As many as one in six children nationwide has a neurodevelopmental disability, including autism, speech and language delays, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that ADHD alone affects 14 percent of children, although experts debate whether it may be overdiagnosed. In any case, the number of children needing special education services has increased 200 percent in the past 25 years. In a 2000 report, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that 3 percent of brain disorders are caused outright by environmental toxicity and an additional 25 percent by environmental exposures interacting with genetic susceptibilities....

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