Researchers claim that the recent surge in children diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, and autism are all related to an increase in exposure to dangerous chemicals. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as the Icahn School of Medicine, found that a number of neurotoxins can have negative effects on children and hamper their cognitive development. The chemicals studied included manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Several of the chemicals were found in increasing quantities in drinking water, while the others are associated with pesticides.
The researchers were unable to isolate each chemical and report on its individual connection with negative effects on the brain. However, the researchers were able to conclude that, in recent years, higher levels of the chemicals have been found in the blood and urine of mothers with children having neurological problems.
The researchers believe that these chemicals alter the brain in a negative and permanent manner, which makes it important for the public to realize their effects. “The consequence of such brain damage is impaired [central nervous system] function that lasts a lifetime and might result in reduced intelligence, as expressed in terms of lost IQ points, or disruption in behavior,” wrote the researchers. Their report was published in the science journal Lancet Neurology.
While researchers would like to lessen the risk of exposure, they realize that this will be difficult. They cite a lack of studies and rigorous testing of these chemical materials, and they also state that there is a high burden of proof when it comes time for the federal government to regulate industries.