Environmental Health Perspectives recently published a journal that throws more light on common chemicals we use daily but are harmful to a child’s brain development.
The report called for more attention to be paid to everyday activities, especially on food and beverages.
Scientists, health practitioners and children’s health advocates have expressed their concern over the role played by these chemicals in disrupting brain development. This disruption starts from as early as early as pregnancy with the effect often growing up with the kid.
Professor Susan Schantz of the University of Illinois listed the chemicals that are often neglected but pose a lot of danger as lead and mercury; organophosphate pesticides used in agriculture and home gardens; phthalates, found in pharmaceuticals, plastics and personal care products; flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers; and air pollutants produced by the combustion of wood and fossil fuels.
“These chemicals are pervasive, not only in air and water, but in everyday consumer products that we use on our bodies and in our homes,”
She admonished that “Reducing exposures to toxic chemicals can be done, and is urgently needed to protect today’s and tomorrow’s children.”
Prof. Schantz explained that “The human brain develops over a very long period of time, starting in gestation and continuing during childhood and even into early adulthood.”
“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.” Prof. Schantz said.
Among the chemicals mentioned in the report are some also known to interfere with normal hormone activity.
According to the reports, most pregnant women in the US would have been exposed to phthalates and PBDEs. Both chemicals disrupt thyroid hormone function which contributes a lot to healthy brain development.
Phthalates are found in variety of products which people are exposed to daily. Phthalates are another common hormone disruptor, linked to certain attention deficits, lower IQ and conduct disorders in children.
To limit exposure to some of these chemicals, put these steps into practice-
- Reduce exposure to fast food. US study found that consumers of fast food have a 40% higher level of phthalates in their urine compared to others who eat more natural food. This is due to the chemicals used in food packaging materials.
- Replace makeup and beauty products with more natural cosmetics. Just a few days change can make a huge difference.
- Switch from plastics to glass or paper containers when microwaving food. This is to avoid releasing toxins into the food.