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Mercury, Heavy Metals, and Chemical Exposure and

Their Relationship to Learning Problems and ADHD.

The dangers of lead poisoning and mercury toxicity have been known for
centuries. And research over the past thirty years has shown that low-level
exposures to heavy metals from paint, exhaust, and other environmental sources
has toxic effects. These metals are neurotoxins and adversely impact brain
development and performance. Please protect your child's brain from Mercury and
other heavy metals, and environmental chemicals.

Mercury exposure has been linked to lower intelligence scores and

neurobehavioral problems in children of mothers exposed to contaminated
seafood. We are convinced that dental amalgam fillings, which are over 40%
mercury, plus toxic nickel, copper, and cadmium, also can cause neurological and
immune system dysfunctions.

One in six children in the USA has a developmental disability or neuro-

developmental disorder, such as ADHD, autism or Asperger's, PDD, etc. It is
possible, in fact likely, that exposure to heavy metals and chemical toxins both in
utero and in early childhood cause damage to the developing brain, resulting in
various neurological disorders, and such exposure might help to explain the high
rates for these disorders in this generation.

These heavy metals and chemicals would include:

amalgam dental fillings, any level of lead exposure, mercury exposure through
older vaccines where a form of mercury was used as a preservative, pesticides
including the sprays used inside of your house, herbicides including the products
used outside of your house, nail polishes, and certain cleaning products used
inside your house.
Research on Heavy Metals and Children

There are two important research projects support this position: Michigan State
University's Joel Nigg's research on lead exposure and ADHD, and Harvard's
Philippe Grandjean's studies on developing brains. Let's look at these briefly.

Lead Exposure and ADHD

Are there any safe levels lead? Just how much lead in your child's blood do you
think is OK?

Michigan State University (2007, December 6). Even Low Lead Exposure Linked
To ADHD. This MSU study has demonstrated that even very low levels of lead in
the blood - levels thought previously to be safe in children - could be a contributing
factor in behavior and learning disorders such as ADHD. The MSU study adds
support to a growing list of evidence that there is no safe level of lead in the blood.
Studies in the past have shown a link between low-level lead exposure and lower
IQ. And some historians blame lead exposure from drinking water delivered in lead
pipes for the decline of the Roman empire.

According to the study, which examined both children with and without ADHD, all
150 children had at least some lead in their blood, although none had levels higher
than the 10 micrograms per deciliter level currently considered unsafe by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children with ADHD had higher
levels of lead in the blood than those without the disorder, according to the study,
which was conducted with help from the Michigan Department of Community

Joel Nigg, MSU professor of psychology, led the study. He reported that we need
to be more aware about lead in our environment, toys, cosmetics, and water. The
neurotoxic effects of lead in the blood can interfere with brain growth and synapse
formation, and can lead to problems such as ADHD. The research appeared in the
February, 2008 issue of Biological Psychiatry, and was funded by the National
Institute of Mental Health and the MSU Office of the Vice President for Research
and Graduate Studies.
Industrial and Environmental Chemicals

Researcher Philippe Grandjean, a professor of environmental health at Harvard,

believes that industrial chemicals should be screened for their potential to harm
developing brains, which is not currently done. He and other researchers
published in The Lancet in November, 2006, suggesting that a number of
chemicals may be causing a "silent pandemic" of brain disorders during fetal and
childhood development.

One of the research team's points was that even though moderate amounts of
mercury, lead, or chemicals, might be needed to cause neurological damage in
most adults, only small amounts might be needed to damage developing brains in
babies, infants, and young children.

In their review, the research team summarized what is already known about the
most studied neurotoxic chemicals: lead, methylmercury, arsenic, PCBs, solvents,
and pesticides. These chemicals are potentially serious problems to our brains. In
addition, the researchers searched through the medical literature to compile a list
of 200 chemicals that have been reported to cause neurotoxicity in adults, often
through industrial accidents and exposure in the workplace, suicide attempts after
such exposures, and accidental poisonings from such exposures.

The researchers believe these same chemicals are very likely problems when it
comes to the neurodevelopment in our children - at least any child who comes in
contact with them. The list includes pesticides, carbon monoxide, fluoride,
manganese, and common chemicals like acetone, benzyl alcohol, and
perchloroethylene, a chemical used in dry cleaning.

There are bout 80,000 chemicals registered in the United States for various uses.
Of those, about 1,000 are known to cause neurotoxicity in animals, but only 200
are reported to be toxic to human brains. And of those 200, only five chemicals
have been documented to affect brain development in children. Certainly this is an
area that needs to be looked at much more closely.

Furthermore, according to the researchers, the developing brains of fetuses,

infants, and children are uniquely sensitive to damage. In fetal life, the placenta
offers only limited protection against chemicals, and the blood-brain barrier that
protects adult brains from many substances is not fully formed until several
months after birth. Since children are the most at risk to these toxins because of
their size, and the risks of exposure during brain development, we need to
consider what we are doing to protect them?

The bottom line is that neither the government, nor chemical manufacturers, nor
even parents, are doing much to protect our children. The government does not
regulate these toxins yet, nor are there adequate warnings on the products from
the manufacturers.

And we, the parents, continue to purchase and use chemical pesticides to kill little
ants, chemical herbicides to kills crab grass that our children will play on in the
afternoon, chemical cleaners for the floors and sinks that our children will use
when we are done cleaning. We continue to actually pay dentists to put mercury in
our children's mouths. It is time that we reconsider how we are spending our
monies, and what products we purchase for our homes. They might be affecting
our own children.

Learn more about ADHD at the ADHD Information Library at http://newideas.net

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