How Environmental Pollutants Impair Brain Development

Science for the Public: The Public Science Lectures
April 08, 2014 Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MA
This lecture was the first in our 4-part 2014 series on health and environment at Cambridge Library.

Philippe Grandjean, D.M.Sc, M.D., Professor and Chair of Environmental Medicine, University of Southern Denmark; Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health; Co-Editor (with David Ozonoff, Boston University School of Public Health) of Environmental Health journal. additional info


At present, industrial chemicals are not even tested for possible effects on brain development. As an international authority on the effect of environmental pollutants on brain development, Dr. Grandjean has long advocated stricter regulations on these neurotoxicants. In this presentation he explains how several common pollutants impair brain development in both the fetal stage and early childhood. During development, the human nervous system is uniquely sensitive to toxic substances. The damage from these substances affects cognition, behavior and health. The problems affect not only the damaged children, but their families, communities and the broader society. The brain power of the next generation deserves better protection, as we get only one chance to generate a brain.

CNN on Dr. Grandjean's work Putting the Next Generation of Brains in Danger

PBS's Living on Earth interview

March 2015 update Health Costs of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals 150 Billion a Year

Consumer Reports: Pregnant Women Should Avoid All Tuna

Autism Risk Much Higher in Children of Women Living Near Agricultural Pesticides

Chemical Brain Drain Endangers Generations of Children

Harvard Gazette: Toxic Chemicals Linked to Brain Disorders in Children

Huffington Post: More Toxic Chemicals Damaging Children's Brains

Environmental News: Chemical Brain Drain

Grandjean & Landrigan study in Lancet

Dr. Grandjean's blog Chemical Brain Drain

SftPublic Author page

from Choice review of Only One Chance
Dr. Grandjean has devoted his career to studying how environmental chemicals affect children and their brain development. His studies on mercury triggered an international response that led to a United Nations agreement to control mercury pollution. He has studied children in the U.S. and Denmark, in the Faroe Islands, and countries in South America and Asia, and he has published about 500 scientific papers on his findings.