Chemical Brain Drain
– Challenges in linking environmental science to policy
We are excited to be able to announce the forthcoming ISSP Public Lecture on 31st of May, 2013, 2pm-4pm.
In collaboration with the European Environmental Agency (EEA), we are proud to present Professor Philippe Grandjean (University of Southern Denmark & Harvard University), author of the newly published book “Only One Chance”, as key speaker at the forthcoming ISSP public lecture. Prof. Grandjean’s worldwide research covers extensive studies of how environmental polution impairs brain development and he is a frontrunner within his field.
Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director EEA will open the event with a short talk on recent findings. This year, the EEA finished the 800-page monograph on ‘Late Lessons of Early Warnings: Science, Precaution, Innovation’. Dr. McGlade reviews the report, the initial responses to it, and her hopes for socially responsible decision-making closely linked to scientific documentation.
The event, as well as the public disussion, will be moderated by Lasse Marker known from Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s “Kulturknuserne” and Raeson’s 5 o’clock events.
Notice: Limited numbers of seats so we advice quick sign-up
Chemical brain drain as a sign of failing environmental science and policy
By Professor Philippe Grandjean
Many environmental chemicals can harm the brain, in particular during highly vulnerable brain development. This hazard was not taken seriously for many decades due to the naïve belief that the placenta would protect the foetus against toxicants, and the blood-brain barrier would protect the brain itself. Further, brain development was not considered particularly vulnerable. Evidence on lead, mercury, arsenic, solvents, and pesticides has accumulated and now provide a solid basis for a new paradigm.
The developing brain seems to the critical target organ for many environmental chemicals. The effects may include serious disease, but most commonly exposures during early life result in subclinical effects, including IQ loss and behavioral abnormalities. However, due to their widespread occurrence, such effects are extremely costly to society. Harming brain development in the next generation will hamper future innovation and challenges from dealing with the technological failures of the present generation, thus possibly generating a vicious circle.
Chemical brain drain is an indication of a serious failure of the research community to provide the necessary documentation for decision-making, but also of the decision-makers for not reaching socially responsible conclusions on abatement needs.