July 4, 2010
SLD: specific learning disabilities
"Risk = Toxicity + Exposure"
"Exposure is practically ubiquitous. We're all exposed (1)." Prior consideration of variables, a recent study found detectable levels of pesticide compounds in the urine of 94 percent of children tested. Research findings support the hypothesis that organophosphate exposure, at levels common among US children may contribute to ADHD prevalence (2). Seventeen percent of children in the United States have been diagnosed with one or more developmental disabilities. This percentage has risen dramatically in the past decade and continues to increase. These disabilities are... the result of complex interactions among genetic, environmental, and social factors that impact children during vulnerable periods of development. Research demonstrates that pervasive toxic substances, such as mercury, lead, PCBs, dioxins, pesticides, solvents, and others, can contribute to neurobehavioral and cognitive disorders (3). The US National Academy of Sciences estimates that at least 25% of learning and behavioral disabilities are due to either known toxic substances or the interactions between environmental factors and genetic predispositions(4).
Exposure to pesticides may lead to:
• Impairment of short-term memory
• Slower psychomotor and reaction speed
• Emotional instability, more frequent instances of anxiety, irritability, and depression
• Personality disorders or changes, mood changes
• Shortened attention spans, associated with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivitydisorder), which affects 3 to 6% of all school children
• Delays in physical stamina and hand-eye coordination
• Decreased number of brain cells and neurotransmitter receptors with exposure during critical points of development, that lead to significant IQ deficits and reading impairments
• Incomplete development of the fetal brain (5)
1. Author Maryse Bouchard of the University of Montreal
2. "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides"
3."In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development": Physicians For Social Responsibility
4. "Our Stolen Future"
5. "Pesticides and Learning Disabilities"