Dr. Philippe Grandjean on Chemical Brain Drain

By the Collaborative on Health and the Environment

How the Next Generation’s Brain Functions are Endangered by EDCs and Other Environmental Chemicals.

Dr. Philippe Grandjean suggests that new scientific insights reveal that the next generation’s brain functions are endangered by environmental chemicals. The fetus is not protected by the placenta and therefore shares the mother’s cumulated exposures to toxic chemicals. Infants and children are likewise exposed to a cocktail of foreign substances against which the body has no innate defense. Prenatal and early postnatal brain development is an extremely complex process that we now know is uniquely vulnerable. Lead, mercury and a few other substances have long been known to be toxic to brain development. Recent research suggests that many chemicals, perhaps thousands, may cause similar effects because they can gain access to the developing brain and exert their toxicity to brain cells. This new insight needs to be translated into public policy to protect the brain functions of the next generation. On this call Dr. Grandjean discussed what he terms “chemical brain drain” and how we might work to protect the brain health of future generations.

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