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An Urgent Problem

toysAutism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, intellectual disability (formerly termed mental retardation), lowered IQ and other disorders of learning, development, and behavior are highly prevalent among American children.4

  • Between 1997 and 2006, rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year.5 Today, approximately 4.5 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD.6
  • The lifetime prevalence of learning disabilities in United States (U.S.) children is approximately 9.7%, according to a 2007 Pediatrics article.7
  • According to a 1994 study, approximately 16% of U.S. children have a developmental disability,4 and research shows increasing trends.8
  • Since the early 1990s alone, reported cases of autism spectrum disorders have increased tenfold.9 The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now estimates that one in 110 U.S. eight-year-olds have autism spectrum disorder, with an increase of 57% between 2002 and 2006.10
  • While increased awareness and improved diagnostic criteria undoubtedly played a role in the current figures, studies controlling for those factors infer that other culprits, such as chemical contaminants and gene-environment interactions, are likely to play a role in the rising incidence of learning and developmental disabilities in the U.S.11
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