September 26, 2008
LDDI addresses unnecessary chemical exposures implicated as contributing to various neurodevelopmental disorders.
September 16 - Seattle, WA. The Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative published today the Policy Implications Based on the Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

This statement, signed by almost 100 scientists, health professionals and advocates nationally and internationally, provides policy recommendations based on the latest science regarding environmental contaminants associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intellectual disabilities and developmental delays.

The statement draws from the group’s scientific consensus statement that was published in February 2008. That statement, signed by more than 50 leading scientists and health professionals in the field of neurological disorders and environmental health, summarized research findings from diverse disciplines concerning environmental contaminants and the biological basis of compromised learning and development.

The policy statement recommends chemical policy reform, education, regulation, remediation, further research and testing to address unnecessary exposures to substances implicated as contributing to the various neurodevelopmental disorders.

Chemicals and substances of concern in the statement include metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury; additives or byproducts from consumer products such as plastic toys and food; manufactured chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and flame retardants (PBDEs); and hormone-mimicking endocrine disruptors.

“All children have a right from conception through adolescence to an environment in which they can reach and maintain their full potential,” said lead author, Steve Gilbert, PhD, DABT, “We know that exposure to the contaminants addressed in this statement can rob children of their potential. It is time to make significant policy reforms to eliminate or drastically reduce exposures to these agents. We have the knowledge; it is time for action.” Gilbert directs the Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders.

This document is designed for health professionals, health-affected groups, health advocates, children’s advocates, environmental health and justice organizations, policymakers and journalists to use as a resource for promoting policies to reduce unnecessary exposures that can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders. A call to action, the statement is a summary of steps that can be taken to protect the health of all children across the country.

“If we reduce environmental exposures that may contribute to learning and developmental disabilities, we reduce the emotional and financial hardships that tens of thousands of kids, their families, teachers and communities face every day,” Elise Miller, MEd, national coordinator of LDDI and executive director of the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health. “In turn, we will have a more productive, robust and resilient society.”