Last year a group of nearly 50 leading scientists, health professionals and providers, and children’s health and disabilities advocates (including The Arc) came together out of concern over the growing link between toxic environmental chemicals and neurodevelopmental disabilities. Last week, we issued a consensus statement under the banner of Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks.
Our statement is a national call to action that seeks to significantly reduce exposures to chemicals and pollutants that are contributing to autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, intellectual disability, and other conditions. Prime examples of these are chemicals in everyday use to make plastic more flexible, upholstery less flammable, and crops more plentiful.
The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disabilities has been increasing significantly according to the CDC, while the programs and services that are needed to support them remain under attack. It’s time to change how we do business in prevention. We need to shift the burden of proof to show that chemicals are safe before we allow them to affect a baby’s developing brain.
While we must work together to prevent developmental disabilities resulting from toxic exposures, we must work simultaneously to protect the services and supports for those who live with these disabilities now. Want to get involved in advocating for services and supports for people with disabilities? Sign up for The Arc’s Disability Advocacy Network.