Vol. 3, No. 4, 1997 Page 2


The May 30 issue of the British medical journal Lancet reports a study of 501 children in Scotland, revealing a 6% reduction of cognitive ability and learning skills among [children] with average blood lead levels of only 10.4 ęg/dl. More than 80 percent of American children already have blood lead levels as high as this.... The message for parents seems to be this: there's already enough lead in the American environment to damage a lot of children. No increase in environmental lead is desirable or acceptable."
Peter Montague, in Rachel's
Hazardous Waste News,

How many of today's criminals, languishing in prison, are there for no other reason than being unfortunate enough to be born into a lead- polluted, late twentieth-century society?"
James Bellini, in High Tech

Children are undergoing rapid growth and development, and their developmental processes may be easily disrupted.... If cells in the developing brain are destroyed by chemicals such as lead, mercury, or solvents, or if the formation of vital connections between cells is blocked, there is a high risk that the resulting neurobehavioral dysfunction will be permanent and irreversible."
"Healthy Children-Toxic
Environments," Child Health
Workgroup, U.S. Dept. of Health and
Human Services, Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry,

The educational community has really not understood the dimensions of this because we don't see kids falling over and dying of lead poisoning in the classroom. But there's a very large number of kids who find it difficult to do analytical work or [even] line up in the cafeteria because their brains are laden with lead."
Bailus Walker,
former commissioner
of public health
in Massachusetts,
quoted in Newsweek, 1991

At the moment it is impossible to know whether hormone-disrupting chemicals are contributing to any of the disturbing social and behavioral problems besetting our society and, if so, how much. Each of these problems is immensely complex and the result of a variety of forces acting together. At the same time, studies with animals are clearly showing that disrupting chemical messages during development can have a lifelong impact on learning ability and behavior. Hormone disruption can increase the tendency toward a certain kind of behavior, such as territoriality, or attenuate normal social behaviors, such as parental vigilance and protectiveness. Given this provocative evidence, we should consider chemical contamination as a factor contributing to the increasing prevalence of dysfunctional behavior in human society as well."
Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski,
and John Peterson Myers,
in Our Stolen Future, 1996

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