1 in 6 children in the United States, 17% more than just 10 years ago, have a developmental disability, including learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, and other serious developmental delays, many of which might have been avoided.
According to The Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, children in America are at an unacceptably high risk of acquiring neurodevelopmental disorders that affect the brain and nervous system. The genetic and socio-economic issues are complex, but the environmental causes, including toxic chemicals can be prevented.
Leading scientific and medical experts, along with children’s health advocates, came together in 2015 in a project called Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks, or TENDR, and are consequently issuing a call to action to reduce existing widespread exposures to chemicals that interfere with fetal and children’s brain development.
Based on scientific evidence, the TENDR authors have identified prime examples of extensively used toxic chemicals and pollutants that increase children’s chances of neurological disorders. Policies and actions are urgently needed to eliminate or significantly reduce exposures to these chemicals, but the reality is that at present, the vast majority of chemicals in industrial and consumer products undergo almost no testing for developmental neurotoxicity or other health effects.
This enormous, but preventable threat, results from a failure of our industrial and consumer markets, as well as regulatory systems to assume responsibility for protecting developing brains from toxic chemicals. the TENDR report has directly states that the current U.S. system for evaluating scientific evidence and making health-based decisions about environmental chemicals is “fundamentally broken”. Further, to protect children, the risk evaluations made by governmental agencies and business must be overhauled to be based on how chemicals in commerce are regulated, and how scientific evidence informs decision making by government and the private sector.