Reports on Childrens Health and the Environment

Ban the use of artificial food additives in children’s food and drinks?

 A PRESS RELEASE in April by  our parent organisation ISDE called for a total ban on the use of artificial food additives in children’s food and drinks. It said

Recently published research in the Lancet [1] has shown conclusively that certain artificial colourants and flavourings can induce behavioural changes in children consuming them. Professor Vyvyan Howard of the University of Ulster, President of ISDE and an internationally recognised toxicologist, said “The UK FSA is to be congratulated on acting on the results of Professor Stephenson’s research by asking for the EU-wide banning of six food colourants from infant foods. These chemicals have no nutritional value. A number of the colourants are in fact aniline dyes made from coal tar. ISDE supports Professor Stephenson’s recent statement calling for the removal of these additives in foods destined for consumption by children but ISDE feels that this is an opportunity to examine the whole topic of food additives in children’s food. On a purely precautionary basis they should be discontinued. We personally don’t feed any of these to our 2 year old daughter, Hannah”.

Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Posted by David Strong, member of DEA Management Committee

The Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders developed by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative is a valuable summary of evidence regarding numerous environmental agents known to, and others increasingly suspected to, adversely affect brain development.  It details the mechanisms involved, recommendations for further research and ethical and policy considerations.   It is a readable document which rightly concludes that “given the established knowledge, protecting children from neurotoxic environmental exposures from the earliest stages of fetal development clearly is an essential public health measure if we are to help prevent learning and developmental disorders and create an environment in which children can reach and maintain their full potential.

Executive Summary: Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

“Given the established knowledge, protecting children from neurotoxic environmental exposures from the earliest stages of fetal development clearly is an essential public health measure if we are to help prevent learning and developmental disorders and create an environment in which children can reach and maintain their full potential.”

In order to document and provide support to prevent neurodevelopment disorders, the Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders was developed by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (posted at http://www.iceh.org/LDDI.html). This statement is intended as a guide to scientists, medical professionals, policymakers, public health advocates, and the general public in advancing their efforts to address the important individual and social issues raised by learning and developmental disabilities.

This consensus statement outlines the current scientific understanding of the links between environmental factors and learning and developmental disabilities. Environmental agents that we are confident cause learning and developmental disabilities in humans include: alcohol, lead, mercury, PCBs, PBDEs, manganese, arsenic, solvents, PAHs, pesticides and nicotine/environmental tobacco smoke. An overview of the evidence regarding these agents is presented, along with emerging evidence about other potential contributors: endocrine disruptors, fluoride and food additives. The statement also identifies important research areas that hold promise of further advancing our understanding of these links.

With a glossary and more than 200 references, the statement was drafted and reviewed by a committee of scientists and health professionals underscoring the following:

1. The scientific evidence reviewed in this statement indicates environmental contaminants are an important cause of learning and developmental disabilities. The proportion of environmentally induced LDDs is a question of profound human, scientific and public
policy significance. Existing animal and human data suggest that a greater proportion is environmentally influenced than has yet been generally realized or than can be demonstrated with scientific certainty.

2. The consequences of LDDs are most significant for the affected individual but also have profound implications for the family, school system, local community and greater society. Despite some uncertainty, there is sufficient knowledge to take preventive action
to reduce fetal and childhood exposures to environmental contaminants. Given the serious consequences of LDDs, a precautionary approach is warranted to protect the most vulnerable of our society.

A statement of policy recommendations based on this scientific statement will be available for public endorsement in 2008. For more information contact Nancy Snow at the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health, nsnow@iceh.org.

 

Chemical Exposure of Babies. Research in the European Community

A new 15 million euro research project has been launched to investigate exposure to chemicals in food and the environment and their connection with childhood cancer and immune disorders. The incidence of these conditions in European children has been accelerating in recent decades

The draft DEA policy on Childrens's Environmental Health states that children are routinely exposed to a number of hidden hazards from pollutants in air, water, food, soil and surfaces, and from consumer products. Children, from conception to adolescence, are particularly vulnerable to environmental pollutants because of their immature metabolism, greater exposure to pollutants relative to their body weight, and longer time to develop chronic diseases that take several decades to appear. Moreover, children have unique exposure patterns due to the particular environments in which they live, learn and play; these are ones over which they have no direct control. Environmental pollutants of concern in Australia include priority air toxics. persistent bioaccumulative toxins that are found in blood, fats and urine, and pesticides. Clearly the European project will have relevance to children in all western communities.

Children's Health and Environmental Indicators

Montreal, 26 January 2006 - The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), in partnership with public health organizations and the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States, today released the first-ever report on children's health and environment indicators in North America.

The report presents 13 indicators under three thematic areas: asthma and respiratory disease, effects of exposure to lead and other toxic substances, and waterborne diseases. It finds that North American children remain at risk from environmental exposures and that children's health reporting must be improved to address the data gaps identified in the report. Only one of the indicators, addressing asthma in children, was fully reported by all three countries.

Toxic Chemicals By the Hundred Found in Blood of Newborns

WASHINGTON, DC, July 14, 2005 (ENS) - Exposure to hundreds of toxic chemicals begins in the womb, finds a new study of the umbilical cord blood of 10 American newborns commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. The research and advocacy organization asked a lab to test 10 American Red Cross cord blood samples for what the group claims is the most extensive array of industrial chemicals, pesticides and other pollutants ever studied.

The group wanted to measure how early the human body burden of chemicals begins to accumulate. The lab tests found that hundreds of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides are pumped back and forth from mother to fetus through umbilical cord blood.

Doctors Lack Environmental Health Training

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, North Carolina, October 25, 2004 (ENS)
Doctors and nurses need more environmental health training to prevent, recognize, and treat diseases caused by environmental exposures, particularly in children, finds a new study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Childhood diseases related to the environment in American children, such as lead poisoning, asthma and cancer, cost Americans billions annually, but few pediatricians are trained to ask their patients questions on environmental exposures or give advice on environmental poisons, the study found.

Medical and nursing schools should add environmental health topics to training programs, advised the physicians, nurses, and educators on the scientific team. The group also recommended that government organizations should focus on advancing children's environmental health issues.

Environment Blamed for One in Three European Child Deaths

BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 21, 2004 (ENS) - One in three child deaths in Europe is due to environmental factors, according to the first assessment of the overall impact of the environment on child health in the World Health Organization's European Region. Outdoor and indoor air pollution, unsafe water, lead and injuries are responsible for 100,000 deaths and six million years of healthy life lost every year in children and adolescents from birth to 19 years of age, researchers found.

Up to 13,000 children aged 0-4 years die from particulate matter outdoor air pollution and 10,000 as a result of solid fuel use at home, the assessment revealed.

Mind-Blowing Poisoning Of US By American 'Industry' - 24 BILLION Pounds Yearly

This report finds that U.S. industry releases enough neurological and developmental toxins to fill railroad cars stretching from New York City to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Every year, U.S. industry releases about 24 billion pounds of toxic substances that are believed to cause developmental and neurological problems in children.

That amount could fill a string of railroad cars stretching from New York City to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and yet there are no emissions standards for these harmful chemicals.

This alarming finding is one of many in Polluting Our Future: Chemical Emissions in the U.S. that Affect Child Development and Learning, a joint report released Thursday by the National Environmental Trust (www.environet.policy.net), Physicians for Social Responsibility (www.psr.org) and the Learning Disabilities Association (www.ldanatl.org).

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