Some populations are especially vulnerable to the potential health effects of toxic chemical exposures, including children.
Cathy Ficker Terrill states: “Having a child with complex allergies made [my family] very interested in learning about toxic chemicals. Since our daughter has environmental allergies our family has always been interested in living in a clean and safe environment. We were shocked by our chemical body burden results because we have been living in an allergy free house since Beth was eight.”
Brain and nervous system development continues through early childhood and into adolescence; the period of vulnerability to toxic chemical exposures stretches accordingly. At the same time, infancy and childhood bring new sources of exposure to toxic chemicals. As the Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders (hereafter referred to as “LDDI Scientific Consensus Statement”) notes: relative to their body weight, “children eat and breathe more than adults, thus a small exposure translates into a big dose.” The LDDI Scientific Consensus Statement also states that there is growing evidence that stress, when combined with social ecology or environmental exposures can increase a child’s susceptibility to developmental disorders.29
Joe Meadours has voiced concerns about his parents’ likely exposures during his conception and gestation to a wide range of pesticides used in the southeast U.S. His father was a crop duster, and Joe remembers waving to his father’s plane as it flew overhead, spraying pesticides on the fields where he and his brother were playing. Joe states, “I can’t help but wonder if that caused or contributed to my developmental disability.”