(NaturalNews) Being a kid in the 21st century is in many ways no different than at any other time in our history, in that even today, with advanced technology, there is still no way to keep them 100 percent safe.
When you think about it, technology is directly responsible for many of the things that negatively affect our children. That is especially true of many of the chemicals they are exposed to these days -- chemicals which can, in fact, harm their brain development.
Along those lines, and as noted by author and writer for Time Alice Park:
In recent years, the prevalence of developmental disorders such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia have soared. While greater awareness and more sophisticated diagnoses are partly responsible for the rise, researchers say the changing environment in which youngsters grow up may also be playing a role.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, identified five industrial chemicals in a 2006 study that they concluded were responsible for harming the brain. They included lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (which are found in electric transformers, capacitors and motors), arsenic (found in water, soil, pesticides and even wood preservatives) and toluene, which is used to process gasoline and is found in other petroleum-based products like paint thinner and fingernail polish. Park writes that the research team found that exposure to these chemicals, all of which are neurotoxins, was associated "with changes in neuron development in the fetus as well as among infants, and with lower school performance, delinquent behavior, neurological abnormalities and reduced IQ in school-age children."
Some familiar culprits, at least to our readers
Now, the same researchers have reviewed available literature and have discovered six additional industrial chemicals that are detrimental to normal brain development: manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene and polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
The team reports that manganese is found in drinking water, and it may be contributing to lower math scores and increased hyperactivity. Exposure to fluoride, meanwhile (which is also in most drinking water), can actually contribute to a seven-point drop in IQ. The rest of the chemicals, which are put in solvents and pesticides, "have been linked to deficits in social development and increased aggressive behaviors," Park writes, adding:
The research team acknowledges that there isn't a causal connection between exposure to any single chemical and behavioral or neurological problems -- it's too challenging to isolate the effects of each chemical to come to such conclusions. But they say the growing body of research that is finding links between higher levels of these chemicals in expectant mothers' blood and urine and brain disorders in their children should raise alarms about how damaging these chemicals can be. The developing brain in particular, they say, is vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals, and in many cases, the changes they trigger are permanent.
And these are all links that we've reported on -- extensively -- here at Natural News. Some of the more common chemicals we've covered include:
"The consequence of such brain damage is impaired [central nervous system] function that lasts a lifetime and might result in reduced intelligence, as expressed in terms of lost IQ points, or disruption in behavior," the Harvard and Mt. Sinai team wrote in their report, which was published in the journal Lancet Neurology.
'We are concerned that kids all over the world are being exposed to these damaging chemicals'
A couple of barriers exist to protecting kids from exposure to these damaging chemicals. One is that there is not enough testing of industrial chemicals and their potential effects on brain development before they are widely used, and the second is that the vast amount of unquestionable proof that federal regulatory agencies require before they write regulations restricting or limiting said chemicals (blame the awesome power of lobbying).
The team noted that, most times, control of damaging substances and chemicals only comes after negative effects are found among adults; in kids, by comparison, damage is often more subtle, and it is not always considered pathological or dangerous, says Parks.
"Our very great concern is that children worldwide are being exposed to unrecognized toxic chemicals that are silently eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, truncating future achievements and damaging societies, perhaps most seriously in developing countries," the researchers write. "A new framework of action is needed."