Monday, February 1, 2016

Environmental Toxins Harm America's Children

Environmental toxins harm America's children
    A growing concern among American families is the chemicals in our environment and the detrimental effects it has upon our children. The Flint, Michigan disaster is a recent example. I live near Lake Erie and we have more drinking bans, beach closings due to filthy water, and warnings about eating Lake Erie fish. These grim facts trouble Americans a great deal and coping with environmental toxins is a topic found in the FindingHappiness in America manual.
    In the manual I describe how the National Environmental Trust, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Learning Disabilities Association for America are striving to protect Americans from our increasingly toxic environment. Their research studies estimate that releases into our environment of developmental and neurological toxins amount to 24 billion pounds per year.
     As part of the “Finding Happiness” process, I encourage you to write to your state and federal representatives and request a copy of the first ever, comprehensive look at the sources of such child-unfriendly pollution, entitled “Polluting Our Future: Chemical Pollution in the U.S. that Affects Child Development and Learning.”
    Research is accumulating that demonstrates how toxic pollution affects the way American children suffers from one or more developmental, learning, or behavioral disabilities like mental retardation, birth defects, autism, or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
    The National Academy of Sciences released a study entitled, “Polluting Our Future,” which conservatively concludes that 360,000 children in America, or one in every 200, suffer from developmental or neurological disabilities caused by toxic exposures to known developmental and neurological toxins.
     The Finding Happiness in America manual offers actions for families to take. For one, contact personnel at the Children’s Environmental Health Network (510) 587-1393 ( who recently trained U.S. physicians in pediatric environmental medicine.
    Another action for you to do is to learn the environmental health hazards in your town and send faxes, for free, straight to top-ranked polluters in your area. Contact Scorecard at to view maps pinpointing potentially harmful chemicals being released in your neighborhood. It’s quite eye opening!
     In 1918, the U.S. produced a total of 10 million pounds of synthetic chemicals. Today, over 300 billion pounds of chemicals per year are produced and the average American makes and/or uses more than 1,500 pounds of chemical products per year.
     It appears the integration of brain sciences and environmental neuro-toxicology will prove the connection, but without public outcry, Americans should expect little to be done. That’s why the “Finding Happiness” process in the manual encourages American families to speak up! 

 Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. authored the book "Finding Happiness in America" and has retired from his positions of school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership and Policy Studies at Bowling Green State University.