Kids’ Brains Harmed by Chemicals, Report Says

Children’s brain development is being impaired by some of the more than 70,000 human-made chemicals on the market, says a new report from the World Wildlife Fund. The report, which surveyed current research in the field, charges chemicals with such neurological effects as poor memory, reduced visual recognition and motor skills, and lower IQ, and cites U.S. research that ties 10 percent of all neurobehavioral disorders to chemical exposure. While it singles out some chemicals by name — particularly brominated flame retardants, PCBs, and dioxins — the report laments that there is little to no safety information available on most chemicals floating about in the environment and in households. “In effect, we are all living in a global chemical experiment of which we don’t know the outcome,” said WWF’s Helen McDade. The European Union is working on legislation to regulate industrial chemicals, but enviros say it has been weakened by pressure from chemical-industry groups and the U.S. government.