Linking environmental hazards to childhood neurodevelopment
A great deal has been learned about neurobehavioral consequences of chemical exposure to adults in the workplace while much less is known about the neurotoxicity of environmental chemical exposure in children (except in the case of lead).
It is well recorded that the childhood brain is in a state of constant development and progresses through periods of changing vulnerability to environmental hazards. Far less is known about the development of the nervous system and its psychological and behavioral correlates. Measuring neurobehavioral dysfunction in children remains a new science.
Research is needed to better characterize the potential neurological toxicity of the environmental chemicals to which children are frequently exposed, covering both acute and delayed consequences of exposures. Research is required to: (1) explore the mechanisms of action of neurotoxins; (2) examine the health effects of mixtures of neurotoxins, especially pesticides; (3) develop multi-generational assays of neurotoxicity; (4) devise techniques to study gene-environment interactions in neurotoxicity; (5) continue studies of the neurotoxicity of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) using sensitive outcome measures.
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