Only One Chance: How Environmental Pollution Impairs Brain Development -- and How to Protect the…

Paperback | August 15, 2015

byPhilippe Grandjean

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Today, one out of every six children suffers from some form of neurodevelopmental abnormality. The causes are mostly unknown. Some environmental chemicals are known to cause brain damage and many more are suspected of it, but few have been tested for such effects. Philippe Grandjean providesan authoritative and engaging analysis of how environmental hazards can damage brain development and what we can do about it. The brain's development is uniquely sensitive to toxic chemicals, and even small deficits may negatively impact our academic achievements, economic success, risk of delinquency, and quality of life. Chemicals such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), arsenic, and certain pesticides pose aninsidious threat to the development of the next generation's brains. When chemicals in the environment affect the development of a child's brain, he or she is at risk for mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, and a range of learning disabilities and other deficits that will remain for alifetime.We can halt chemical brain drain and protect the next generation, however, and Grandjean tells us how. First, we need to control all of the 200 industrial chemicals that have already been proven to affect brain functions in adults, as their effects on the developing brain are likely even worse. Wemust also push for routine testing for brain toxicity, stricter regulation of chemical emissions, and more required disclosure on the part of industries who unleash hazardous chemicals into products and the environment. Decisions can still be made to protect the brains of future generations."In his crisply written, deeply documented book, Dr. Philippe Grandjean, renowned physician and public health specialist, describes the exquisite vulnerability of the developing human brain to toxic chemicals in the environment, a vulnerability that he ascribes to the brain's almost unimaginablecomplexity. Today, nearly one in 6 children is born with a neurodevelopmental disorder - a birth defect of the brain. One in 8 has attention deficit disorder. One in 68 is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. These rates are far higher than those of a generation ago, and, although they are lesspublicized, the problems are more prevalent than those caused by thalidomide in the 1960's. The increases are far too rapid to be genetic. They cannot be explained by better diagnosis. How then could they have come to be? Dr. Grandjean has a diagnosis - the thousands of toxic chemicals that havebeen released to the environment in the past 40 years with no testing for toxicity. David P. Rall, former Director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, once stated that 'If thalidomide had caused a ten-point loss of IQ rather than obvious birth defects of the limbs, itwould probably still be on the market'. This is the core message of Dr. Grandjean's 'must read' book." - Philip J. Landrigan, Dean for Global Health, Ethel H. Wise Professor and Chairman and Director, Children's Environmental Health Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

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Today, one out of every six children suffers from some form of neurodevelopmental abnormality. The causes are mostly unknown. Some environmental chemicals are known to cause brain damage and many more are suspected of it, but few have been tested for such effects. Philippe Grandjean providesan authoritative and engaging analysis of how...

Philippe Grandjean is Professor and Chair of Environmental Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard School of Public Health. He has devoted his career to studying how environmental chemicals affect children and their brain developm...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:August 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190239735

ISBN - 13:9780190239732

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Brain Matters: Only One Chance to Develop a Brain1. Sensitive Development: Complexity Creates Vulnerability2. Toxic Invasion: The Placenta Is Not a Protective Armor3. Invisible Lead: Health Hazards from Demanding Scientific Proof4. Poisoned Science: Mercury Damaged the Child's Brain but Did Not Harm the Mother5. Substituted Milk: Poisoning During Infancy Causes Permanent Brain Damage6. Persistent Problems: Chemicals Resistant to Break-Down Can Break Brain Cells7. Unusual Suspects: Chemicals That Protect the Lawn May Damage the Brain8. Mindless Costs: Losses Suffered by Victims and Society from Chemical Brain Drain9. Inconvenient Truths: Vested Interests Can Endanger Brain Development10. Brainy Choices: How to Secure Optimal Brain Development for the Next GenerationAppendix: Chemicals Known to Be Brain DrainersAcknowledgmentsEndnotesBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"[Only One Chance] is factual, rationally developed, and nuanced, without pulling punches. It argues for a social conscience, adequate premarket research, communication, and regulation. Chemical damage to the developing brain is not destiny. Grandjean explains why and how society mustintervene to prevent exposures now and in the years ahead. Highly recommended." --CHOICE