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Learning Disabilities

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Overview


"Given established scientific knowledge, protecting children from neurotoxic exposures from the earliest stages of fetal development is clearly an essential public health measure. By reducing environmental factors that may lead to learning and developmental disorders, we will create a healthier environment in which all children can reach and maintain their full potential." (Gilbert, 2008)

Within the human brain lies the capacity to learn, talk, read, calculate, memorize, conceptualize, organize, be attentive, use motor skills, interact socially, and behave appropriately. Damage to the brain or nervous system at an early developmental stage creates lifelong challenges to the individual.

To examine one source of harm to the developing nervous system, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment's Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (CHE (CHE, 2009) -LDDI (LDDI, 2009)) has prepared Scientific and Policy Consensus Statements on environmental agents associated with neurodevelopmental disorders (Gilbert, 2008a, 2008b see below). These statements, by leading researchers and public health professionals, document chemicals that can harm the nervous system and recommend actions for prevention.

We define learning and developmental disorders broadly as conditions resulting from interference of normal brain development and function that adversely affect an individual's performance. Learning and developmental disorders include, but are not limited to, deficits in learning and memory, reduced IQ, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, conduct disorders, and developmental delays.


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