There's no lack of research that being in the womb does not necessarily protect growing babies from the effects of toxic threats. Research now shows that chemicals and viruses can travel from mother to baby through the placenta. These can even infect babies before they are ever born and pose a significant risk to those outside the womb as well.
In utero, brain development can be significantly affected by things like exposure to lead, pesticides, synthetic chemicals and even viruses like Zika, and while many believe more research should be devoted to the prevention of problems from those risk factors, President Trump has many concerned with his American withdrawal of the Paris Accord.
The Paris Accord is an agreement between 195 countries, all committed to resolving issues like pollution and climate change, and Thursday, President Trump said that America would no longer be part of the agreement.
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The president also plans to reduce the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by 31%, which would reduce research that would go to chemical safety as well as biomedical research and programs that would protect citizens of America and the world from pandemic outbreaks of infectious disease.
While the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention warns of toxicity in chemicals and pollutants as dangers to pregnant women and their newborns, the head of the EPA Scott Pruitt refutes his own agency's information concerning the danger in pesticides, lead, flame retardants and other toxins.
Those and more have scientific data showing they are capable of fetal development of brains when exposed to in utero or early in life, and Pruitt disagrees with the agency's recommendation to ban the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Years of research that showed chlorpyrifos as a significant health risk to children has just been ignored, as Pruitt sees no issue with the use of the widely used insecticide.
More, the research that supports the dire consequences of climate change with respect to the effect on early brain development has basically been ignored with the President's withdrawal, and his desire to disregard the Clean Power Plan that cuts carbon emissions from power plants has been ignored as well.
While the World Health Organization estimates that children under the age of five are most vulnerable to diseases caused by environmental risk factors and climate change, there is great concern for the one in six children in the United States who are affected by developmental disability, as that number is expected to grow with the President's policies.
Experts say the issue is a need for regulation that requires more testing of chemicals and their effects before they are marketed, and more, the need for immediate action when it is shown that harm comes from these toxins. Reducing the power the EPA has to work toward the elimination of brain-damaging chemicals will only lead to a larger global issue that starts within the U.S.
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When legislation targeted at reducing or eliminating the use of lead in house paint and gasoline began in the late 1970s, lead levels in children's blood dropped significantly. Levels of toxic flame retardants in the blood and breast milk of pregnant women dropped significantly in California when the state banned many of those chemicals in 2006.
The EPA restriction of the use of pesticides that were shown to be neurotoxic proved to reduce a number of those neurotoxins found in cord blood in 2001.
It's clear, regulation of toxic chemicals makes a difference, and it's a difference that is too expensive not to make. Experts estimate that it cost approximately $56 billion in 2008 to treat lead poisoning and prenatal mercury exposure in the United States, while 146 billion euros (about $164 billion USD) went to treat effects from the prenatal exposure to organophosphate in the European Union.
So what can we do? Read labels. Investigate Ingredients. Know where your foods come from and how they are grown. Call your representatives so your voice is heard. Our children depend on us to do so.
Source: New York Times