Environmental ToxinsToday, children are exposed to thousands of substances in the environment, most of which have never been tested for toxicity to children. Lead is perhaps the best-studied of the environmental threats to children, but there may be countless more that have never been studied. There is strong and growing evidence that exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment contributes to many diseases of children, among them , learning disabilities, certain birth defects and childhood cancer.
- More than 80,000 new chemical compounds have been developed since World War II
- Of these, 3,000 are high-volume chemicals, with annual production exceeding one million pounds. These chemicals are used extensively in our homes, schools, communities, and they are widely dispersed in air, water, soil, and waste sites.
- Fewer than 20% of these high volume chemicals have been tested for their possible toxicity to children.
- Over 2.5 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released to the environment in the US each year.
- Nearly 75% of the top 20 chemicals discharged to the environment are known or suspected to be toxic to the developing human brain. In addition, more than 4 billion pounds of pesticides - many of them neurotoxic - are applied in the US each year in agriculture, on lawns and gardens, and inside homes, schools, day-care centers and hospitals.
- National surveys conducted by the show measurable levels of high-volume synthetic chemicals in the bodies of nearly all Americans, including newborns, infants and in the breast milk of nursing mothers.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Chemical Hazard Data Availability Study: What Do We Really Know About the Safety of High Production Volume Chemicals? Washington, DC: Office of and , 1998.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Program. Washington, DC, February 21, 2008.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Atlanta (GA): CDC, 2005.
- Particulate Matter
- Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
- Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
- Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)