Children exposed to brain harming chemicals

Scientists have reviewed the literature and found more chemicals that might cause mental damage to children.   Scare tactics by “chemicals” and “scientists”? In 2006 lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls , arsenic , and toluene were identified as potentially harmful to the brain development of children.  Now these scientists from Harvard School of Public Health and the Icahn School of Medicine have reviewed the literature and come up with manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers as chemicals of concern.  “The research team acknowledges that there isn’t a causal connection between exposure to any single chemical and behavioral or neurological problems – it’s too challenging to isolate the effects of each chemical to come to such conclusions”.

Name chemicals and causal evidence is too hard?  Lead use in contact with children has been reduced.  Environmental mercury from anthropogenic sources has decreased since the mercury cell caustic process went out of use.  PCB’s were widely used in transformers, carbonless paper and even some printing inks.  PCB phaseouts began about 40 years ago.   I suppose that you could go review environmental concentrations and potential for contact with the old and new list, but since the research team’s report is a literature review and naming chemicals, why go through the exercise.

I’m not sure this results in much more than a bit of fear mongering unless the scientists come up with some research showing the effects of these chemicals in the environment.  I’d really bet that the exposure to most of these chemicals has been greater in the past than now.

5 responses to “Children exposed to brain harming chemicals

  1. It’s easy to scare people with pseudo science proclamations.

    I would suggest that in the real world dose makes the poison. Right?

  2. I remember in elementary school when the teacher would hand out the mimeographed tests, the first thing all the kids would do was to pick up the test and take a deeeeeeeeeep sniff. I love the smell of toluene in the morning. With all those toxic chemicals in everyday stuff back then, its amazing any of us made it to adulthood.

  3. The real threat is not so much chemicals that are tightly regulated and their threats questionable, it is the Munchhausen by proxy syndrome of our wellness nannies.

  4. This study made the evening news in Richmond. The report made it sound like a scientific study discovered something new for parents to worry about. Complete with film of kids on the playground.

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