The Price the Next Generation Will Pay for Chemical Exposure

Many new chemicals are introduced into the environment without significant research of their long-term effects. This can be a significant concern for children, who don’t have the ability to recover as easily from side effects of chemical exposure as adults.  Since the damage caused by chemical exposure is currently believed irreversible, it is vital that we are all informed on the serious repercussions that introducing certain chemicals has on our precious future generations.

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                                                                   (Photo courtesy of Cloth Diaper Malaysia)

“More recent research has found possible links between prenatal phthalate and BPA found in consumer products and behavior problems in toddlers and adolescents. The list of chemicals that could potentially impact neurodevelopmental outcomes is growing and yet there is still no standardized and systematic program in place to assess these important endpoints,” said Dr. Amir Miodovnik, a pediatrician specializing in children’s environmental health and current researcher of chemical pollutants on the developing brain at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. “Little is known regarding the developmental neurotoxicity of many chemicals widely used today. Our chemical regulatory system, as it currently exists, is extremely ineffective in preventing these chemicals from entering into commerce.”

Dr. Miodovnik will be presenting, “Neurodevelopmental outcomes in children associated with chemical exposures occurring early in life” a free webinar on March 14th from 3-4pm. Partnering in the event is Our Kitchen Table, a grassroots, nonprofit organization based in greater Grand Rapids which works to empower citizens to improve their health and environment through information, community organizing and advocacy.

Many companies are phasing out BPA, the primary component of polycarbonate plastic, due to its potential health risks. Its widespread use in canned goods, toys, water bottles, food packaging and many other products has caused concern all over the world with several studies pointing to cancer risk and hormone disruption. Many countries including, China, Canada and the European Union have banned BPA in infant bottles and children’s items. You may have noticed all of the negative marketing campaigns where products gloat their “BPA free” status to make buyers feel safe about their purchase. Unfortunately, many of the chemicals found to be dangerous in household items are replaced by new chemicals that have not yet been thoroughly tested for safety.

It may be easy to assume that if a product is being sold it has to be relatively safe, but it can take years before a toxic chemical with known risks is completely removed from the shelves. “We know that elevated blood lead levels in early childhood have been associated with juvenile delinquency, ADHD and loss of IQ; however, knowledge of lead’s adverse effects was known for decades prior to its ultimate removal from gasoline and paint in the 1970s and 80s,” said Dr. Miodovnik.

In order to prevent children from being exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals it is important to get informed on what is in the products we use.  Registration information for the event can be found on Our Kitchen Table’s website.

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