Pediatric Health & Toxins Conference
Michelle M. Miller (email@example.com)
Wed, 19 May 1999 08:53:28 -0500
Another piece on toxicity & health from the CITnet listserve. m3
>> ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES OF DEVELOPMENTAL
>> DISORDERS EXPLORED
>> NEW YORK - Developmental disorders such as
>> autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and
>> mental retardation may be more preventable once
>> more research on the role of environmental toxin
>> exposure in neurological disorders is conducted,
>> speakers said at a Manhattan conference.
>> While lead, PCBs, mercury and certain pesticides are
>> known to cause a percentage of developmental
>> disorders, research on how other toxic chemicals
>> may affect children's neurological development
>> remains to be done, according to Dr. Philip J.
>> Landrigan, Director of the Center for Children's Health
>> and the Environment at Mount Sinai School of
>> Medicine, New York, the conference sponsor.
>> "I am distressed over the fact that we know the
>> causes of only a fraction of these developmental
>> disorders, that 70% to 75% of them have no known
>> cause. If we don't know the cause, we don't have hope
>> of doing anything sensible," Dr. Landrigan said.
>> Fewer than 20% of the approximately 75,000
>> chemicals manufactured in the last 50 years have
>> been evaluated for potential neurotoxicity, according
>> to a press release issued by the Center for Children's
>> Health and Environment.
>> One reason so many gaps exist in current knowledge
>> about the impact of environmental toxin exposure on
>> neurological function is the "...difficulty documenting
>> the exposures," conference speaker Dr. Ruth A. Etzel
>> of the American Academy of Pediatrics told Reuters
>> "We live in sort of a chemical soup where each day,
>> every one of us has hundreds of some high, some low
>> exposures. The kinds of effects they can have on the
>> nervous system are often quite subtle and therefore
>> very difficult to study," Dr. Etzel said.
>> "We might recognize a child, for example, with severe
>> mercury poisoning, but we might not recognize slight
>> mercury poisoning because that might result in such
>> subtle neurologic deficits that...it might look like it's in
>> the normal range," Dr. Etzel added.
>> Until more evidence is available on the impact of
>> environmental toxins, Dr. Etzel urges parents and
>> pediatricians "...to be observers of the environment in
>> which children live."
>> "Some of the most important discoveries about
>> environmental hazards have come from pediatricians
>> who notice something unusual in their practice," she
>> noted, "...either a cluster of unusual diseases that
>> occurs in a neighborhood, or perhaps an unusual
>> exposure that alerts them to something that might be
>> going on."
>> The conference is scheduled to end on Tuesday with
>> the development of "...a national research agenda and
>> recommendations for protecting children from
>> pollutants that affect neurological development and
>> (c) Reuters Limited 1999.
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Pesticide Use and Risk Reduction Project
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
University of Wisconsin - Madison
U.S. Mail: 146 Agriculture Hall 608.262.7135
Campus: 1535 Observatory Drive 608.262.5200
Madison, WI 53706 fax 265.3020
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