Lead and mercury have long been known to affect the intellectual growth of kids. A new study says that these are no more the main culprits since the restrictions placed on them, but it does name flame retardants and pesticides as the new perpetrators of the hampering of kids’ mental development.
According to the new study, there have been over a million cases of intellectual underdevelopment in the USA between 2001 to 2016, despite decreasing levels of toxic chemicals. Flame retardants, due to their use of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and organophosphate pesticides emerged as most responsible for it.
“Our findings suggest that our efforts to reduce exposure to heavy metals are paying off, but that toxic exposures, in general, continue to represent a formidable risk to Americans’ physical, mental, and economic health,” says lead study investigator Abigail Gaylord, MPH, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone. “Unfortunately, the minimal policies in place to eliminate pesticides and flame retardants are clearly not enough.”
Flame retardants and pesticides can also interfere with thyroid function. Apart from this, substances found in several household products are capable of building up in the body and cause organ damage. The study noted that the overall cost of neurodevelopmental disease decreased over the period of this research.
The study highlights that individuals can be exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals as early as in utero, and further in early childhood. Conducted by a team of researchers at New York University, the paper has been published in the Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology journal.