Environmental Toxins, Chemicals, Metals

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Protect Your Child's Brain from Mercury and Other Heavy Metals and Environmental Chemicals

The dangers of lead poisoning and mercury toxicity have been known for centuries. And research over the past thirty years has shown that low-level exposures to heavy metals from paint, exhaust, and other environmental sources has toxic effects. These metals are neurotoxins and adversely impact brain development and performance.

Mercury exposure has been linked to lower intelligence scores and neurobehavioral problems in children of mothers exposed to contaminated seafood. We are convinced that dental amalgam fillings, which are over 40% mercury, plus toxic nickel, copper, and cadmium, also can cause neurological and immune system dysfunctions.

Two informative but shocking videos on the internet illustrate the points. The first video from the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicity shows that amalgam fillings expose their "owners" to mercury vapor. The second video from the University of Calgary, Ontario, Canada, shows mercury ions destroying nerve cells. These are "must see" videos.

Vaccine Alert Mercury is a Neurotoxin Scientific proof

A Scientific video explaining and showing how mercury is a very Toxic Neurotoxin. I do ot think there is any argument that Mercury is Bad, so why in the world would it be in a vaccine that is injected directly into the blood system. It's Eugenics Dum...

One in six children in the USA has a developmental disability or neuro-developmental disorder, such as ADHD, autism or Asperger's, PDD, etc. It is possible, in fact likely, that exposure to heavy metals and chemical toxins both in utero and in early childhood cause damage to the developing brain, resulting in various neurological disorders.

These heavy metals and chemicals would include:

  • amalgam dental fillings,
  • any level of lead exposure
  • mercury exposure through older vaccines where a form of mercury was used as a preservative,
  • pesticides including the sprays used inside of your house,
  • herbicides including the products used outside of your house,
  • nail polishes,
  • and certain cleaning products used inside your house.

Research on Heavy Metals and Children

Two important research projects support this position:

  • Michigan State University's Joel Nigg's research on lead exposure and ADHD
  • Harvard's Philippe Grandjean's studies on developing brains

Lead Exposure and ADHD

Are there any safe levels lead? Just how much lead in your child's blood do you think is OK?

Michigan State University (2007, December 6). Even Low Lead Exposure Linked To ADHD. This MSU study has demonstrated that very low levels of lead in the blood – levels thought previously to be safe in children – could be a contributing factor in behavior and learning disorders such as ADHD. The MSU study adds support to a growing list of evidence that there is no safe level of lead in the blood. Studies in the past have shown a link between low-level lead exposure and lower IQ. And some historians blame lead exposure from drinking water delivered in lead pipes for the decline of the Roman empire.

According to the study, which examined both children with and without ADHD, all 150 children had at least some lead in their blood, although none had levels higher than the 10 micrograms per deciliter level currently considered unsafe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children with ADHD had higher levels of lead in the blood than those without the disorder, according to the study, which was conducted with help from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Joel Nigg, MSU professor of psychology, led the study. He reported that we need to be more aware about lead in our environment, toys, cosmetics, and water. The neurotoxic effects of lead in the blood can interfere with brain growth and synapse formation, and can lead to problems such as ADHD (learn more about ADHD at http://newideas.net ). The research appeared in the February, 2008 issue of Biological Psychiatry, and was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the MSU Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.

Industrial and Environmental Chemicals

Researcher Philippe Grandjean, a professor of environmental health at Harvard, believes that industrial chemicals should be screened for their potential to harm developing brains, which is not currently done. He and other researchers published in The Lancet in November, 2006, suggesting that a number of chemicals may be causing a “silent pandemic” of brain disorders during fetal and childhood development.

One of the research team's points was that even though moderate amounts of mercury, lead, or chemicals, might be needed to cause neurological damage in most adults, only small amounts might be needed to damage developing brains in babies, infants, and young children.

In their review, the research team summarized what is already known about the most studied neurotoxic chemicals: lead, methylmercury, arsenic, PCBs, solvents, and pesticides.

In addition, the researchers searched through the medical literature to compile a list of 200 chemicals that have been reported to cause neurotoxicity in humans, often through industrial accidents, occupational exposure, suicide attempts, and accidental poisonings.

The researchers believe these are very likely candidates for causing effects on neurodevelopment.

The list includes pesticides, carbon monoxide, fluoride, manganese, and common chemicals like acetone, benzyl alcohol, and perchloroethylene, a chemical used in dry cleaning.

About 80,000 chemicals are registered in the United States; of those, about 1,000 are known to cause neurotoxicity in animals, and 200 are known to be toxic to human brains. Only five chemicals have been documented to affect human brain development.

“You don’t care about losing one percent of kidney function,” Grandjean said. “But with the brain, it is incredibly important that we maintain optimal function and have access to all the talents we can develop. It’s the key to our education, economic activity, and quality of life.”

Furthermore, they say, the developing brains of fetuses, infants, and children are uniquely sensitive to damage. In fetal life, the placenta offers only limited protection against chemicals, and the blood–brain barrier that protects adult brains from many substances is not fully formed until several months after birth. Since children are the most at risk to these toxins because of their size, and the risks of exposure during brain development, we need to consider what we are doing to protect them?

The bottom line is that neither the government, nor parents, are doing much to protect our children. The government does not regulate these toxins yet, nor are there adequate warnings.

And we, the parents, continue to purchase and use chemical pesticides to kill little ants, chemical herbicides to kills crab grass that our children will play on in the afternoon, chemical cleaners for the floors and sinks that our children will use when we are done cleaning. We continue to actually pay dentists to put mercury in our children's mouths. What are we thinking?

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., M.S. is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Tehachapi, CA who has been a skillful counselor to children, teens, and adults helping them to overcome ADHD, find relief for depression or anxiety, and solve other problems in life since 1989. He served on the medical advisory board to the company that makes Attend and Extress from 1997 through 2011, and he is the Editor of the ADHD Information Library online resource. His weekly ADHD Newsletter goes out to 9,500 families. Visit his website at http://DouglasCowan.me for more information on achieving greater health, personal growth, Christ-centered spirituality, stress management, parenting skills, ADHD, working out the stresses of being a care-giver to elderly parents and also being a parent to teenagers, or finding greater meaning in retirement years, Dr. Cowan can be a valuable resource to you.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT
27400 Oakflat Dr.
Tehachapi, CA 93561
(661) 972-5953

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My Child, Pesticides, and ADHD : Any Connections?

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Can Pesticides or Other Heavy Metals Cause ADHD - like Problems?

For the last eight or so months I have been helping my father, Dr. Doug Cowan, by editing and publishing this ADHD newsletter. Recently, national news highlighted an article regarding pesticides and a possible link to ADHD in children. I try to be purposeful in feeding my child healthy foods, and so I was very interested in the study, and I think that you might be as well.

Here is the summary: In a study of 119 children with ADHD it was found that the children with ADHD had higher levels of urinary dialkyl phosphate concentrations than did a control of 1139 children without ADHD previously studied (2004). The study concluded that the findings supported the idea that organophosphate exposure, even at levels that are commonly found in children, may contribute to ADHD.

Even though I am a Child Development major, I am still just a young mom attempting to figure out “parenthood” in the 21st century. I am constantly bombarded with the challenge of raising healthy children. It starts at pregnancy with the brochure of what is and is not safe to eat, drink, wear, etc. No soft cheeses, no caffeine, no herbal teas, no nitrates, no sun-tanning, no hair dying, no hot tubbing, no, no, no. After wrapping my brain around the small but significant life changes I would have to make, I then had to maintain my sanity. “Is this ok to eat?” “Am I gaining too much weight?” “Does standing by a microwave damage my baby’s ability to do multiplication?” I was constantly grappling with new (and usually ridiculous) fears and unanswered questions. Half way through my second trimester, I was over it. I avoided the foods my doctor warned against (most of the time) and I was smart about my activities and energy levels. I refused to allow every little thing to cause me fear or make me question my ability to be a good mom. I felt liberated and empowered.

Then the baby came…

There are 50 billion books on how to care for a baby. All of them say something different. One book says to feed on demand, another says to schedule. This one says let them cry, that one says hold them at all times. After my baby was three weeks old, I put the books down and decided to make decisions based on our lifestyle, my child’s developing temperament, and how I could get the most sleep.

Now my little dude is 18 months old and we have entered a whole new level in the game of parenting. Climbing has become a favorite activity along with throwing all objects (food included) and discovering what will and will not float in the toilet bowl. Everything about being a mom has become more complicated. One nap or two? Pacifier or no pacifier? Barney or Thomas? So many choices to make every minute of every day.

The most recent dilemma I have found myself grappling with is the choice between organic and non-organic foods. I have watched all the documentaries and youtube videos on the reality of where most main-stream foods come from and the process by which they get to our local grocery store. They all make me want to move to my own farm and grow my own dinner. Since that is not a realistic solution, I have had to step back and decide how I am going to let this new information on food affect my family.

The first goal I made was to begin to meal plan in order to save money and be intentional about the food I bought at the store. My next goal was to buy most of our produce at a local farmer’s market or fruit/veggie stand. I am currently working on my third goal of serving my family only organic produce. After reading a recent article on pesticides in Time Magazine, I can assure you I will begin to work much harder on goal number three.

Last week, “Time Magazine” featured an article on the relation between ADHD and organophosphates (a type of toxic pesticides found on grocery store fruits and veggies). According to the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, higher concentrations of pesticides were found in the urine of children diagnosed with ADHD than children without ADHD.

The more I read and re-read the article, the more uncomfortable I became. Not only is it disturbing to think about pesticides being traceable in a child’s urine, but the thought of my child ingesting the same chemicals used to kill bugs by “causing damage to the nerve connections in the brain” is pretty upsetting as well.

Though there is further research to be done, the study described in Time Magazine is not the first of its kind. Apparently the possible link between pesticides and ADHD has been up for debate for some time. It sounds to me like Dr. Bouchard, the leading researcher on the project, is pretty convinced…

Bouchard suggests that concerned parents try to avoid using bug sprays in the home and to feed their children organically grown fruits and vegetables, if possible. (Otherwise, parents should be careful to scrub all produce to reduce residue.) While pesticide-free fruits and greens may be more costly, Bouchard says they may be worth the price in terms of future health.

Here are the references for more on the study and related articles:

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides
Maryse F. Bouchard, Ph.D., David C. Bellinger, Ph.D., et. al
Published online May 17, 2010
PEDIATRICS (doi:10.1542/peds.2009-3058)

The full text is available in PDF format at:

Time Magazine article referenced:

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Environmental Toxins and Learning Problems ADHD

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The Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) released the first-ever biomonitoring report identifying toxic chemical pollution in people from the learning and developmental disability community. Mind, Disrupted: How toxic chemicals may affect how we think and who we are examines 61 toxic chemicals present in project participants in the context of rising rates of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning and developmental disabilities.

"Given the increasing rates of learning and developmental disabilities -- particularly autism -- we need to recognize that the rising costs associated with long term care of disability, special education and related health care will only continue to grow," explained Jeff Sell, Esq, Vice President for Policy of the Autism Society and father of twin teen sons with autism.

"Children are uniquely vulnerable to environmental exposures because their biological systems are still developing. During fetal development, exposures to even miniscule amounts of toxins at certain developmental windows can have lifelong health impacts," said Dr. Larry Silver, M.D., a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown at Georgetown Medical Center, accomplished self-advocate, and author of groundbreaking learning disabilities research. "By protecting children from toxic exposures, we can protect everyone. We need to create healthy environments to ensure all children can reach their full potential and contribute to society."

The report release was prior to a Senate Hearing on Feb 4, with the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health examines current science on public exposures to toxic chemicals.

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families is a diverse and growing coalition of 120 groups working to pass smart federal policies that protect us from toxic chemicals.

LDDI is an international partnership fostering collaboration among learning and developmental disability organizations, researchers, health professionals and environmental health groups to address concerns about the impact environmental pollutants may have on neurological health. LDDI currently has over 400 organizational and individual participants engaged in educational and policy efforts.

Source: Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative http://www.minddisrupted.org/

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Heavy Metals and ADHD : QA

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Hi, Thanks for your newsletter and all the information in it.

What do you think about ionic magnesium to help the very impulsive child? We tried
ritalin a few years ago and decided against it due to side effects. Also, what do you
think about testing for and taking out heavy metals?


Hi Suzanne

I don't know anything about ionic magnesium as a treatment. I do like a combination of
Attend, Extress, and our adhd diet for treating impulsive children.

See http://newideas.net/adhd/different-types-adhd/hyperactive for more on specific
treatment strategies.

Yes, I am very concerned about heavy metals. My wife is off heart medication because we
took out her 1 (one) amalgam filling (mercury toxic). Heavy metals in our tissues, or in
our mouth, or in our brain, is really bad for us - they are neuro-toxins. Do what you can
to get rid of them.

Doug Cowan

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