Could chemicals really cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)? The number of reported cases of ADD/ADHD has increased by three percent each year between 1997 and 2006. Approximately 16 percent of U.S. children have a developmental disability, and research shows that the numbers are growing. Reported cases of autism spectrum disorders have gone up tenfold since the early 1990s. While increased awareness of symptoms and improved diagnostic criteria play a role in these statistics, studies controlling for those factors imply that other culprits -- chemicals and gene-environment interactions -- are contributing to the rising incidence.
Science suggests that exposure to toxic chemicals -- everyday toxins found in foods, carpeting and flooring, cleaning and lawn products, and personal-care products, like toothpastes -- may contribute substantially to such disorders as ADD/ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to toxic chemical exposure because their biological systems are still developing. During fetal development, exposure to even minuscule amounts of toxins at critical junctures can have a lifelong impact on brain and physical health.
The Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) recently released the first-ever report identifying toxic chemical pollution in people from the learning and developmental disability community, called “Mind, Disrupted: How Toxic Chemicals May Affect How We Think and Who We Are.” I was one of the participants.
More Causes of ADD/ADHD
This article appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of ADDitude. SUBSCRIBE TODAY to ensure you don't miss a single issue.