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July 2017

Establishing and Achieving National Goals for Preventing Lead Toxicity and Exposure in Children

Author Affiliations
  • 1Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 4Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(7):616-618. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.0775

Children are exposed to chemicals in consumer products, household dust, food, air, water, and soil that, at exceedingly low levels, interfere with healthy brain development, causing long-lasting neurodevelopmental effects. The failure to protect children from widespread exposure to neurotoxic chemicals led a group of clinicians, scientists, and advocates to form Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neurodevelopmental Risks) and craft a consensus statement that identifies examples of chemicals that are known or suspected to increase children’s risk for neurodevelopmental disorders: organophosphate pesticides, air pollutants, polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants, lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls.1 Phthalates were identified as an example of chemicals that emerging evidence suggests can impair brain development.1 With the consensus statement as a foundational call to national action, the group has formulated specific recommendations to prevent and reduce prenatal and childhood exposures to these exemplar chemicals. Herein, we present Project TENDR’s recommendations for steps to reduce lead exposure and toxicity in children.