Toxins and Pollution
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This chapter describes the major hazards in the physical environment that alter the development of the brain and predispose to mental disorders. Neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are often associated. Industrial pollution with heavy metals, exposure to insecticides and other chemicals, and early influences of tobacco, alcohol, and certain drugs have all been implicated. Some individuals are predisposed (e.g., by genetic constitution) to adverse reactions to substances in an ordinary diet, including artificial dyes and additives, and to recreational substances such as cannabis. Selective deficiencies of some micronutrients can also have harmful effects and are described here. Clinical implications are drawn out.
KeywordsToxins Insecticides Lead Mercury Allergens Pollution Early adversity Neurodevelopment Epidemiological designs
- Centres for Disease Control (2015) Thimerosal in vaccines. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/index.html
- NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) (2018) Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis and management (NICE guideline NG87). https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng87