Children’s health is, to a large extent, a function of their environment. Exposures to toxins during fetal and early childhood development are risk factors for learning and behavioral problems in children. New research is linking low-level exposure to lead, mercury and PCBs with adverse effects at levels previously thought to be safe.
There are also data linking exposures to pesticides and synthetic chemicals commonly found in household products with learning and behavioral problems. Dr. Bruce Lanphear MD, MPH, has studied children’s environmental health for nearly two decades and is currently principal investigator for the HOME Study, a 400-person birth cohort study, designed to examine the impact of low-level exposures to toxins on learning and behavioral problems in children.
He’s been studying the impact of toxins on children for the past 30 years and reached the inescapable conclusion: little things matter. We’ve discovered that extremely low levels of toxins can impact brain development.
We have also discovered that subtle shifts in the intellectual abilities of individual children have a big impact on the number of children in a population that are challenged or gifted. Steps should be taken to reduce children’s exposure to toxins or suspected toxins. Check out his short presentation about this problem below…
You can read a review article about how toxins impact brain development in an article in Annual Review in Public Health here.