Attention Deficit Disorder - A.D.D.
Child Disorders Now Linked
Environmental Chemical Exposures During and After Pregnancy
This information is the result of a Graduate Student Research Project investigating environmental causes of learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and other child neurological conditions.
Project supervisor - Dr. Kofi Marfo, Special Education Department, University of South Florida, Tampa Florida
This web site provides links
to the increasing amounts of medical research finding environmental circumstances which
can cause learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder - A.D.D., hyperactivity and
other neurological conditions in children.
If you would like to skip the background information on learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder below and go directly to the research
please select Environmental Causes Index
The Learning Disability Crisis
As can be seen in the above graph, the diagnosis of learning disabilities in Florida students has risen from .50% in 1971 to 2.40% in 1977 - to 3.38% in 1980 to 4.04% in 1986 to 5.16% in 1996 and will be over 6% in 1998. Whereas, the initial increases in these numbers can be explained by increased identification of children as a new program begins, the increases continuing after 1985 can not be explained in this manner as specific academic criteria would begin teachers were encouraged to keep students in the mainstream if at all possible. In fact, as will be seen throughout this web site, more and more scientists are finding the potential for common environmental circumstances to cause subtle neurological damage in both laboratory and real life settings.
Types of Neurological Damage found in
Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder
Scientists and researchers have now confirmed in a number of research studies that children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder exhibit at least one of several types of damage to the brain structure. This can appear as either one or more of the following:
The above provides a neurological explanation for "WHAT" has actually happened inside the brains of these children, however, it does not address the question as to "WHY" it happened. This question of WHY is the focus of this research project.
Some of what you are about to read regarding the causes of learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder may at first appear surprising, however, all research included in this web site has been conducted by major medical universities and therefore, should not be ignored because of the emotional discomfort it may cause. It is human nature to avoid acknowledgment of practices that may have been conducted innocently for years, but now appear responsible for contributing to neurological harm to our children. However, continued avoidance of the facts will only allow the problem to continue, with obvious negative consequences upon society and our school systems.
As an explanation for the continued rise in child brain cancers over the past 20-30 years throughout the U.S., the United States EPA has only in the past six months begun initiatives to form a research council to investigate the "combined effects" of modern chemicals as an explanation for the rising rates of brain and neurological cancers among U.S. children.
Problems in EPA's Testing Guidelines
Current chemical testing guidelines set by the E.P.A. requires the chemical company to test their chemicals for health effects upon test animals only one chemical at a time. This, unfortunately, is what many scientists state is a serious flaw in judging the safety of a chemical because this is not what our children are exposed to in the real world. In fact, a child is subjected to hundreds of chemicals simultaneously from chemical flavors and preservatives in food - to chemicals in cleaning compounds - cosmetics - plastic vapors in carpeting and upholstery - vehicle exhaust - and pesticides used in schools and the home. Because of this wide range of exposures, it would be necessary to test all these compounds simultaneously at low levels to come up with any realistic estimate of health effects upon our children - and this just isn't being done.
Also, recent information has shown the unborn child is far more vulnerable to developing neurological damage during pregnancy than previously thought - the human brain is growing at over 4,000 cells per second beginning in the fourth week of pregnancy. An increasing number of neurotoxic compounds are being identified in today's modern society (not present 30-50 years ago) which can weaken or damage this brain development process. The effects of these chemical exposures can then become evident in later years as learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, mental retardation or personality and behavior difficulties such as shyness, hyperactivity, aggression or even violent tendencies and lack of conscience.
Also receiving increased documentation is research showing exposure of the father to various chemical compounds during the 65 days prior to conception (the time required to complete sperm development in the testicles) can increase the risk for various birth defects and symptoms common in learning disability students. The names given to the science which studies this phenomena are Pregnancy Neurotoxicology, Developmental Neurotoxicology and Behavioral Toxicology and will be addressed below.
ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES INDEX
The categories below detail the primary exposure sources that medical research has found to be neurotoxic to the unborn or young developing child, and therefore, are strong potential causes of attention deficit disorders such as A.D.D., learning disabilities and behavior disorders such as hyperactivity. Clicking the link below will provide a summary of the research on the selected topic. This index is currently under construction so only the "colored" sites are currently available. Please check back as we will be adding considerably more information to this site over the next month.
Learning Disabilities - Attention
Deficit Disorder - Hyperactivity
and Mental Retardation Have Been Found to Occur From the Following Environmental and Chemical Exposures :
Click topic for more information
BRAIN DAMAGE Types of brain damage detected in children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder
Neurological harm detected from fluoride