As parents, we try our best to keep our children safe, but it can be overwhelming to say the least! It seems that no matter how hard we try, those pesky toxins keep showing up.
That’s why many scientists, health practitioners and children’s health advocates have come together in an effort to reduce chemical exposure found in a variety of everyday products and in the air. These chemicals are having a large effect on brain development in children of all ages, and they can no longer be ignored by our government.
The name of this report is called “Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental NeuroDevelopment Risks”.
The report lists a variety of chemicals of concern, some of which include the following:
• Lead and mercury (found in cosmetics, vaccines and plastics)
• Organophosphate pesticides (found in agriculture and home gardens)
• Phthalates (found in cosmetics, personal care products and pharmaceuticals)
• Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (used in plastics, textiles, and surface finishes and coatings)
• Air pollution (from burning wood and fossil fuels)
Susan Schantz, a professor of comparative biosciences at the University of Illinois, and one of the authors of the report, emphasises the urgent need to reduce the exposure of toxic chemicals in order to “protect today’s and tomorrow’s children.”
“The human brain develops over a very long period of time, starting in gestation and continuing during childhood and even into early adulthood,” said Schantz. “But the biggest amount of growth occurs during prenatal development. The neurons are forming and migrating and maturing and differentiating. And if you disrupt this process, you’re likely to have permanent effects.”
Phthalates and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are known to affect hormones, especially those in women, which in turn disrupts thyroid hormone function. “Thyroid hormone is involved in almost every aspect of brain development,” said Schantz. “It regulates many of the genes involved in nervous system development.”
Phthalates are also linked to attention deficits, a lower IQ, and antisocial disorders. The scariest part is the fact that phthalates are everywhere—we’re exposed to them every day! Phthalates are in vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, cars, raincoats, soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes.
So who do we blame? Who else except the government and policy makers that allow manufactures to sell us products that are dangerous for our children’s overall development. Most of these chemicals are not even being studied for their long and short-term effects on humans before they hit the shelves at our drug stores and supermarkets.
That is why a handful of companies—Beautycounter included—have been advocating for better and stricter policies, while at the same time, educating parents by providing safe and effective alternatives for everyone in the family.
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Schantz and her colleagues understand there are holes in governmental policies. We can no longer turn a blind eye to what our policy makers allow without studying these common chemicals, and how they affect child brain development, among other disorders.