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Chemicals that are linked to ADHD, Autism

by learningdiscoveries on March 28, 2014

There is a call for an overhaul of chemical regulations to protect our children from toxins that may be causing brain development disorders such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD.

As early as 2000, a study was performed, Autism: A Unique Type of Mercury Poisoning (http://whale.to/a/autism7.html) to investigate early and excessive exposure to Mercury in vaccine injections that may cause traits of autism. Mercury is a toxic metal that can exist in a variety of inorganic and organic forms. It can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioural dysfunctions similar to traits that are associated with autism.

Current regulations are far from adequate to safeguard children from potentially hazardous chemicals found in the everyday items such as food, clothing, furniture and toys. In the past decade, recognised chemicals that cause neurological developmental disorders have doubled from six to 12. These include:

  • Lead – paint, pipes
  • Methylmercury – fish, almalgam fillings
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – floor finishes, adhesives, tapes
  • Arsenic – pine treated logs
  • Toluene – nail polish, glues, car exhaust fumes
  • Manganese – food
  • Fluoride – water, plants, toothpaste
  • Chlorpyrifos and DDTs – pesticides
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs) – flame retardants
  • Tetracholoroethylene – fabrics, stain removers 

These chemicals can be found in fish, flame retardants, plastics, textiles, drinking water and many more substances/products/materials. Controversially, the list includes fluoride that is found in water, plants and toothpaste. Health authorities like the World Health Organisation say low levels of fluoride in drinking water is safe and protects teeth against decay.

However, Dr Grandjean from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and Dr Landrigan from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York performed meta-analysis studies and concluded that children in areas with high levels of fluoride in water had significantly lower IQ scores than those living in low-level fluoride areas. Since 2006, chemicals known to damage the human brain but are not regulated have increased from 202 to 214.

Furthermore, no studies have been conducted to determine the detrimental health effects of interactions of multiple toxic chemicals on the human brain. Given that a child’s brain is much smaller in size compared to an adults, they have an increased vulnerability to these chemicals.

Ways to reduce your chemical intake is to become label savvy. Clear out your pantry and bathroom cabinet of products containing these harmful chemicals and change to organic products and materials.

An advisor to the United Nations Environment Program, Professor Ian Rae, said authorities in Australia, Canada and Japan were already gathering increased data for chemicals, generating and assessing the chemicals of greatest concern. 

Grandjean, P. Landrigan, PJ. (2006) ‘Developmental Neurotoxicity of Industrial Chemicals’, Lancet Neurology, pp. 2167-2178. 

Grandjean, P. Landrigan, PJ. (2014) ‘Neurobehavioural Effects of Developmental Toxicity’, Lancet Neurology, vol. 13, iss. 3, pp. 330-338.

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Rosemary Boon

Registered Psychologist

M.A. (Psych),
Grad. Dip. Ed. Studies (Sch. Counsel),
Grad Dip. Ed. B Sc, Dip. Nut.
MAPS, AACNEM, ATMS, ISNR, ANSA.

Provider No. 2582331F ATMS No. 20831
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