By Philippe Grandjean, Philip J Landrigan
Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-defi cit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other
cognitive impairments, aff ect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be increasing in frequency.
Industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain are among the known causes for this rise in prevalence. In 2006,
we did a systematic review and identifi ed fi ve industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead,
methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. Since 2006, epidemiological studies have documented
six additional developmental neurotoxicants—manganese, fl uoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane,
tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. We postulate that even more neurotoxicants remain
undiscovered. To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy.
Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all
new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity. To coordinate these eff orts and to accelerate
translation of science into prevention, we propose the urgent formation of a new international clearinghouse.