Pediatricians seek stringent regulations to control exposure of harmful chemicals


Affect on children’s health due to exposure to toxic chemicals is often a cause of concern for the parents.  BisPhenol-A or BPA has been addressed extensively over the past few years, which has prompted manufacturers to keep BPA away from infant products like feeding bottles and so forth.  American Academy of Pediatrics has raised concerns over the regulations that govern exposure to toxic chemicals, specifically to children and pregnant women.

 What are the main concerns from doctors regarding regulations on toxic chemicals?
Jerome Paulson of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. acknowledged that the Toxic Substance Control Act hasn’t been updated since 1976.  There are more pinch points than just updation of the Act, some of them include: 

  • The law regulates just five chemicals or chemical classes out of the 80,000 chemicals used by businesses.
  • Companies are bound to notify the EPA about new chemicals, they aren’t require to test chemicals for safety.
  • Only about 15% of these notifications include health or safety test data, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Pediatrician Harvey Karp puts it in another way by saying that the law treats chemicals as “innocent until proven guilty.”  This puts burden on the government to prove something is harmful rather than on the manufacturer.  


What harm does exposure to chemicals pose to children?
This is the key question that pediatric groups want to address due to lack of adequate regulations on toxic chemicals.  Studies have shown over time that children’s brain and body are vulnerable to toxins. ...

Research in the past exhibited negative impact on BPA in adult sperm count.  Children are in their early developmental stage and harmful effect of chemicals can be more severe for them. 

The studies have shown that

  • Children exposed to the highest levels of pesticides before birth had lower IQ scores than other kids
  • Boys exposed before birth to the highest levels of phthalates — chemicals widely used in plastic — were more likely to be born with anatomical defects such as undescended testes.
  • Babies are born “pre-polluted” with more than 200 chemicals, including flame retardants, lead and pesticides banned 30 years ago

The body of evidence on health impact of exposure to toxic chemicals is increasing day by day and government has to step in to address these issues.  Children are the future and with increasing use of materials like plastics, it is hard to keep up with what could be harmful for your kid.  At the very least, we need a good database of commonly used substance and ill effects that have been observed by use of those. 


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