A Silent, Global Pandemic Strikes Children Worldwide
|February 22, 2014||Posted by Staff under Health|
This 2014 excerpt of Common Dreams, Feb 17, is by Andrea Germanos.
Toxic chemicals including some pesticides and solvents may be behind the increasing number of cases of neurodevelopmental disabilities—including autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—among children, researchers warn.
The findings are presented in a study by Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Philip Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai published online Saturday in Lancet Neurology.
“The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis. They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes,” said Grandjean.
Manganese has been linked to diminished intellectual function and impaired motor skills, and solvents have been linked to hyperactivity and aggressive behavior, the authors write.
The effects of neurotoxicity can be society-wide, the authors note, as loss of IQ points may bring down earnings thereby affecting GDP. They can be costly as well; for example, the annual cost of lead poisoning in the U.S. is $50 billion, while behavioral problems associated with neurotoxicant exposure could also require special educational services and may even lead to incarceration, the authors write.
“The presumption that new chemicals and technologies are safe until proven otherwise is a fundamental problem,” the authors write, adding, “Voluntary controls seem to be of little value.”
To confront this silent, global pandemic, the authors urge an international strategy that takes a precautionary approach to fully evaluate new chemicals before they hit the markets. Testing on industrial chemicals and pesticides already on the market should also take place, they say.
Ed. Notes: Businesses would be sure to make sure that their products are safe if we didn’t grant polluters the limited liability they now enjoy in corporate charters. It’s another huge favor that governments grant to those who’re most dedicated to grabbing a buck, whether by hook or crook.
How can we evolve government from its historical role of favoring insiders to defending the rights of all? Let’s demand that governments defend one of the most basic rights of all — our right to a fair share of Earth’s worth: a Citizen’s Dividend from the value of land and resources (a la Alaska, Singapore, etc).
Once that demand becomes part of the public debate, that’ll totally shift the paradigm, the prevailing worldview, so imposing harm on others for profit will no longer seem normal while benefitting equally from nature and society will become the new norm.