Group Highlights Link Between Chemicals in Household Items, Brain Development in Kids

Jul 14, 2016

A national group of health advocates and researchers says there’s a clear link between toxic chemicals in food and everyday products and brain development disorders like autism and ADHD in children.

Maine educators, health care workers and advocates are urging political action to reduce exposure as well as action in doctors’ offices.

“Today I can say that there’s a clear and direct link between exposure to toxic chemicals and a child’s risk for developing a neuro-developmental disorder, including autism spectrum disorder, attention deficitis, hyperactivity and learning disabilities,” says Falmouth integrated medicine practitioner Lindy Grigel, at a Thursday press conference of Maine educators, health care workers and advocates.

The statement from the the TENDR Project, which stands for Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks, says commonly used chemicals associated with developmental risks include certain pesticides, flame retardants, lead, mercury and PCBs.

Grigel says questions about kids’ exposure to the chemicals should be part of every well-child doctor visit.

“Ask parents about vinyl toys, older rugs, vinyl flooring, furniture, lotions and soaps,” she says. “Ask if the family checks for air quality alerts in their home. If they use well water, has it been tested for lead and other toxic chemicals?”

Meanwhile, the Maine group urged action in Augusta to protect Mainers from the chemicals, which the TENDR statement says are found in the bodies of virtually all Americans. The statement also says most chemicals used in industrial and consumer products are almost entirely untested for health effects.