Today, one out of every six children suffers from some form of neurodevelopmental abnormality. The causes are mostly unknown. Some environmental chemicals are known to cause brain damage and many more are suspected of it, but few have been tested for such effects. Philippe Grandjean provides an authoritative and engaging analysis of how environmental hazards can damage brain development and what we can do about it.
The brain's development is uniquely sensitive to toxic chemicals, and even small deficits may negatively impact our academic achievements, economic success, risk of delinquency, and quality of life. Chemicals such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), arsenic, and certain pesticides pose an insidious threat to the development of the next generation's brains. When chemicals in the environment affect the development of a child's brain, he or she is at risk for mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, and a range of learning disabilities and other deficits that will remain for a lifetime.
We can halt chemical brain drain and protect the next generation, however, and Grandjean tells us how. First, we need to control all of the 200 industrial chemicals that have already been proven to affect brain functions in adults, as their effects on the developing brain are likely even worse. We must also push for routine testing for brain toxicity, stricter regulation of chemical emissions, and more required disclosure on the part of industries who unleash hazardous chemicals into products and the environment. Decisions can still be made to protect the brains of future generations.
"In his crisply written, deeply documented book, Dr. Philippe Grandjean, renowned physician and public health specialist, describes the exquisite vulnerability of the developing human brain to toxic chemicals in the environment, a vulnerability that he ascribes to the brain's almost unimaginable complexity. Today, nearly one in 6 children is born with a neurodevelopmental disorder - a birth defect of the brain. One in 8 has attention deficit disorder. One in 68 is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. These rates are far higher than those of a generation ago, and, although they are less publicized, the problems are more prevalent than those caused by thalidomide in the 1960's. The increases are far too rapid to be genetic. They cannot be explained by better diagnosis. How then could they have come to be? Dr. Grandjean has a diagnosis -- the thousands of toxic chemicals that have been released to the environment in the past 40 years with no testing for toxicity. David P. Rall, former Director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, once stated that 'If thalidomide had caused a ten-point loss of IQ rather than obvious birth defects of the limbs, it would probably still be on the market'. This is the core message of Dr. Grandjean's 'must read' book." - Philip J. Landrigan, Dean for Global Health, Ethel H. Wise Professor and Chairman and Director, Children's Environmental Health Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Without a doubt, this book is the contemporary of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" with clearly defined implications for the future health of our own species, that have been ignored or dismissed for far too long. Dr. Phillippe Grandjean writes, with a lifetime of research and study behind him, what we've all suspected for some time, that even small traces of industrial toxins in the environment are depriving future generations, at a time when their growing brains are most vulnerable in the womb or as young children, of their "Only One Chance" to develop a healthy, fully functioning brain. It is a must read for all parents, parents-to-be and all concerned with the health of the global community.
Only One Chance is perhaps the most important book of the last fifty years.Dr. Philippe Grandjean pinpoints the causes behind the multiplying health problems faced by the world today. Starting from neurodevelopmental disorders --birth defects of the brain--attention deficit disorders and autism, the relentless attacks of thousands of untested chemicals on the developing preborn continue unrestrained and unpunished After the child is born, the toxic exposures may produce grave effects and dysfunctions far into adulthood and even old age.
Following upon the WHO/UNEP 2012 Report on the effects of endocrine disruptors and other developmental toxicants, this book may finally bridge the present disconnect between attacks on the preborn through industrial toxic exposures, and the impotence of the present legal regimes. When case after case of environmental harms is dismissed,despite the diseases and stunted development of children, because "it does not raise to the level in...
I will write a partial review now, as I've only looked at parts of the book but I wanted to comment on a few things. I'm in general familiar with Dr. Grandjean's work, and in particular some of the studies on methylmercury. But it strikes me as odd that aluminum adjuvant in vaccines is overlooked as a potential cause of "brain drain" when we give this in significant doses to infants. No doubt Dr. Grandjean believes, as many do, that those opposed to vaccines are misguided, but it seems that on this point Dr. Grandjean himself might be misguided since he gets some of the facts surrounding the Wakefield case wrong. Ethylmercury had nothing to do with the MMR, and Wakefield's retracted 1998 study in fact had extremely little to do with any connection of the MMR to autism, as that paper was about a unique bowel syndrome in children with autism, and the link of autism to the MMR was provided by the parents of the patients involved as well as by previous studies, which Wakefield...
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