Experiencing ‘Silent’ Brain Damage from Toxins


Two researchers named Philipe Grandjean and Philip Landrigan have concerns that a “silent pandemic” of toxins has damaged the brain of unborn children. Philipe Grandjean is from Bellinger’s Harvard College, while Philip Landrigan is a dean of global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan.

These researchers named 12 chemicals found in the environment and items we use daily, such as clothing and furniture. According to these experts, the toxins cause lower IQ, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders. 

According to Dr. Bellinger, Americans have forfeited 41 million IQ  points due to exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate pesticides. Bellinger estimates a total loss of 6.9 million IQ points because of organophosphates exposure. The children whose mothers had exposure to neurotoxins when pregnant had more IQ loss than the rest.

How Toxins Damage the Brain

Brain operation and maintenance are done by a quarter of the body’s metabolism. According to Dr. Bellinger, the brain uses around ten times more calories per pound than the rest of the body. During the early stages of fetus formation, neurons must move to exact places in an exact sequence. 

According to experts, when brain formation begins during pregnancy, specific cortex areas begin to process specific aspects of sensation, movement, and thoughts. Responses to environmental stimuli shape brain responses connectivity. By the time a baby is two years, almost all the brain cells are in their perfect places except for the hippocampus. 

The brain does not grow any new cells throughout one’s life, meaning if cells die, they are irreplaceable. This period is the most crucial in a baby’s life.

An Idea of What to Do

Federal health officials know about this risk. Consequently, the federal government has invested more money to look into how pregnant women and children are affected by industrial chemicals. Additionally, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency has awarded money in related research grants. There is also a network called Centres for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease prevention research that NIH funds.

The centers mentioned above have established solid research programs called prospective birth cohort studies. Scientists use blood, urine, and sometimes dust and air samples to study objective exposure measures. Although these researches are expensive and consume time, they are excellent at connecting prenatal exposures with lost IQ points, shortened attention span, and ADHD. 

According to Landrigan, there exists a huge gap concerning chemical safety. ‘We still don’t have any kind of decent law on the books that require the chemicals be tested for safety before they come to the market’, Landrigan said.