A National Call to Action on Toxic Environmental Chemicals

Last year a group of nearly 50 leading scientists, health professionals and providers, and children’s health and disabilities advocates (including The Arc) came together out of concern over the growing link between toxic environmental chemicals and neurodevelopmental disabilities. Last week, we issued a consensus statement under the banner of Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks.

Our statement is a national call to action that seeks to significantly reduce exposures to chemicals and pollutants that are contributing to autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, intellectual disability, and other conditions.  Prime examples of these are chemicals in everyday use to make plastic more flexible, upholstery less flammable, and crops more plentiful.

The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disabilities has been increasing significantly according to the CDC, while the programs and services that are needed to support them remain under attack.  It’s time to change how we do business in prevention.  We need to shift the burden of proof to show that chemicals are safe before we allow them to affect a baby’s developing brain.

Read the New York Times and CNN coverage of the consensus statement.  For more information about Project TENDR, see http://projecttendr.com/

While we must work together to prevent developmental disabilities resulting from toxic exposures, we must work simultaneously to protect the services and supports for those who live with these disabilities now.  Want to get involved in advocating for services and supports for people with disabilities? Sign up for The Arc’s Disability Advocacy Network.

One thought on “A National Call to Action on Toxic Environmental Chemicals

  1. Hooray! I have been praying that the Arc and other DD advocacy organizations would begin to see the shocking need to focus attention on PREVENTION. The current trajectory of damaged brains is completely unsustainable. Following the upward graph of just one developmental disability—autism—and anyone can see that it is only a matter of time before every other boy is affected somewhere on the spectrum. We simply cannot squeeze THAT much blood out of the “funding turnip” no matter what we do!

    I am the mother of a 31 year old with autism and severe chemical sensitivities. His reactivity to chemicals has not improved at all as he ages, rather it is getting worse. When he is exposed to chemicals by air, food or water, his symptoms skyrocket due to severe pain—he screams, runs, jumps, sweats profusely, heart pounding, until the pain subsides or until it becomes a migraine at which point he can’t move. The chemical he is most reactive to is fluoride, even in such microscopic amounts as tap water.

    Please do not overlook the chemicals added to public water supply, reportedly to treat tooth decay, as one of the many “environmental toxic chemicals” that we need to protect our children from.

    Water districts and health departments try to fool consumers to thinking that the natural form, calcium fluoride, is added to tap water—but hundreds of public information requests prove it is not. Water districts and cities purchase primarily Fluorosilicic Acid (FSA), which is a “repurposed” waste from industry such as fertilizer production. This waste product is contaminated with many other toxic waste chemicals, including lead and arsenic, that are not filtered out in any way before being shipped to water districts and dumped into our drinking water.

    Fluoride, lead and arsenic are all on the EPA database of Developmental Neurotoxicants. There are now over 50 human studies showing harm to the developing brain from fluoride, including reduction of IQ. Studies from Harvard School of Public Health have confirmed this. The greatest risk of harm is to fetuses and infants, especially Blacks and low income. Babies fed formula mixed with fluoridated tap water get over 150 times more fluoride than breast-fed babies.

    According to the CDC, 41% of adolescents have Dental Fluorosis, the external sign that a child was/is over-exposed to fluoride. What are the internal signs that a child has been fluoride poisoned? For starters, IQ reduction and neurodevelopmental disabilities.

    Few know that fluoride—in tablets or in water—is not FDA approved for the treatment of tooth decay. The FDA knows that the benefits do not outweigh the risks, as every approved drug must.

    Teeth are not now, and never will be, more important than babies’ brains! It’s time that the Arc and other DD advocates understand the relationship between fluoride and reduction of IQ and other neurodevelopmental harm by reading the science, not the marketing, of fluoridation.

    The world’s largest and most complete source of scientific studies on fluoride can be found at http://www.fluoridealert.org. Over 70% of the U.S. is on fluoridated water, but when foods and drinks are produced in those areas, it affects all of us.

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