The pediatrics group is the latest of a growing number of medical organizations — including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and American Public Health Association— to call for changes in the way that the government regulates dangerous chemicals.
The Toxic Substances Control Act hasn't been updated since 1976, Paulson says.
Of the top 3,000 chemicals produced in the USA, only 12 have been "adequately tested for their effects on the developing brain," Janssen says.
Yet there's growing evidence that children face real harm from chemicals in their homes, schools and communities, Janssen says. Three studies published last week, for example, found that children exposed to the highest levels of pesticides before birth had lower IQ scores than other kids. Other studies have found that boys exposed before birth to the highest levels of phthalates — chemicals widely used in plastic — were more likely to be born with anatomical defects such as undescended testes.
A study from the Environmental Working Group found that babies are born "pre-polluted" with more than 200 chemicals, including flame retardants, lead and pesticides banned 30 years ago, says pediatrician Alan Greene, who participated in the research.