Environmental Health

The Education, Outreach and Training Workgroup of AAIDD’s Environmental Health Initiative has developed a four part environmental health series for readers of Exceptional Parent Magazine. Through the Exceptional Parent readership of approximately 400,000, the Initiative will make great progress in reaching its goal of raising awareness about the connections between toxic exposures and learning and developmental disabilities for the disability community.

The first article, “Environmental Threats at School” addresses common toxic exposures in schools and what environmental health issues parents should be aware of and on the look out for in their children’s work places. The article discusses pesticides, mold, indoor air quality, cleaning agents as well as mercury, lead and arsenic. Finally it provides a list of resources for parents to find out more about these issues at schools and actions they can take for a more environmentally friendly school setting for their children.

The second article focuses on the basic connection between toxic exposures and health. It discusses the apparent increase in learning and developmental disabilities in the US and proposes that some of this increase may be due to an ever increasing amount of toxic exposures in our environment. Finally, the article provides practical tips for parents to reduce exposures from two neurotoxicants, some pesticides and mercury, in their diet. The second article was published in the February 2005 issue.

The third article helps parents become aware of common toxic exposures in and around the home. It discusses cleaning agents, indoor pest control products, outdoor pesticides and the contaminants that are collected in dust and dirt tracked into the home. Lastly, it provides resources and suggestions for non-toxic and least toxic products parents can use in place of traditional toxic products. The third article was published in the March 2005 issue.

The final article is a call to action where individuals can get involved in national and local efforts to help reduce toxic exposures. It highlights such efforts as the Learning Disabilities of America’s Healthy Children Project and the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health. The fourth article was published in the April 2005 issue.