Industrial and household chemicals are damaging children’s
development and intelligence according to a new report.
The briefing, from the World Wildlife Fund, is based on recent
scientific research from across Europe. It says that brain
development in children living in industrialised European countries
has been affected by chemicals which have accumulated in the
mother’s body over years, and been passed on to babies in the
The effects include worse memory, reduced visual recognition,
less well developed movement skills and lower IQ scores.
Most of the 70,000 man-made chemicals on the market today have
not been tested for neuro-toxity, says the report.
Some have been shown to cause damage to unborn babies at levels
below those currently found in some members of the public.
One of the most toxic is a flame-retardant chemical which is
found in videos, TVs, computers, furniture, carpets, curtains and
Other chemicals reported to cause neuro-toxic damage are dioxins
which are emitted by power stations and waste incinerators, and
PCBs which are associated with some building materials and old
There are concerns that chemicals play a role in the rapid
increase in autistic spectrum disorders and attention deficit
The World Wildlife Fund is calling for European legislation to
phase out chemicals that are persistent and that gradually
accumulate in humans, and those that disrupt the endocrine