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Growing up Challenged:
How Toxic Chemicals May Impair Our Children’s
Development, Behavior, and Learning

Massachusetts Association of Special Education
 Parent Advisory Councils (MASSPAC)

   Marybeth Palmigiano

Nearly 12 million children in the United States under the age
of 18 suffer from one or more developmental, behavioral or
learning disability.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 70
percent of developmental deficits have no known cause.  However,
the developmental neurotoxicity of a number of naturally
occurring and synthetic chemicals has been recognized for years.

Research demonstrates that pervasive toxic substances, such as
mercury, lead, PCBs, dioxins,
pesticides and others can contribute
to neurobehavioral and cognitive disorders.

A review of the top twenty chemicals reported to be emitted under the
1997 Toxics Release Inventory reveals that more than half are known
or suspected neurotoxins. 700 million pounds of emissions of these
chemicals are released by facilities directly into the air or the water,
to be inhaled, absorbed or otherwise ingested through our food and
water supplies.

Scientists are beginning to acknowledge and study the links between
exposures to environmental toxicants and various behavioral and
learning disorders.

The Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility and
Clean Water Fund of New England
are engaged in a joint project
which focuses on environmental exposures to toxic chemicals as
a potential contributor to the widespread incidence of developmental,
behavioral and learning disorders in children
and various methods
of prevention.

The Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility is preparing
a scientific report which will be released in February, 2000.

The report frames the problem, reviews the clinical spectrum of learning
and behavior disorders and provides a summary of the key research on
the link between these disorders and toxic chemicals.

Clean Water Fund is offering an educational program to organizations
and networks of parents, educators and therapists that presents a summary
of the key research and provides prevention steps which individuals can
implement in their daily lives.

We will be available to make an educational presentation to any interested
group of parents, educators or health professionals.

If you would like more information on the project or are interested
in a presentation, please contact:

     Marybeth Palmigiano
     Clean Water Fund
     Telephone: (617)423-4661


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