EPA's "Bad for Our Brains" List of Chemicals

From Sheila Kaplan, PD, 12/22/2010: "RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- As the rates of learning disabilities, autism and related conditions rise, the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release a roster of the pollutants likely to contribute to these or other neurological disorders.

In an ongoing, three-year effort, an EPA team has determined which developmental neurotoxicants -- chemicals that damage a fetal and infant brain -- may pose the biggest risk to the American public.

Some compounds on the EPA's list are ubiquitous in household products, drinking water, medicine, and within the environment. They range from cadmium, used to etch colorful cartoons onto children's glasses, to flame retardants used to fireproof upholstered furniture.

The Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University visited the scientists in North Carolina and obtained a draft of the first chemicals expected to be on the list. Its release, expected early next year, is awaited eagerly by public health activists, who lack government confirmation that many chemicals they suspect are dangerous, and warily by manufacturers.

"It legitimizes the public health concerns,'' said Elise Miller, who serves on EPA's advisory committee on children's health protection. "So many consumers hear contradictory reports from different scientific studies highlighted in the media, so having an EPA list more or less 'settles' the question of whether or not these are chemicals of concern..."

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Here is a partial list of chemicals listed so far, from PD, 12/22/2010: Half of these chemicals are pesticides.

2-ethoxyethyl Acetate – a solvent, used as a coating for wood, metal and other materials; sometimes found in cosmetics.
Acibenzolar-S methyl -- a fungicide
Acrylamide – a chemical that is produced naturally in certain foods when they are cooked at high temperatures. It is also manufactured industrially for use in the production of polyacrylamide gels, which are used for various purposes, including the treatment of drinking water and wastewater; and found in cigarette smoke.
Aldicarb – a pesticide
Allethrin – a pesticide
Aluminum (lactate) -- used in lotions to treat very dry skin.
Aminopterin – chemical originally developed for use in cancer treatment;
Arsenic -- a semi-metal element, which enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the Earth or from agricultural and industrial practices.
Aspartame – an artificial sweetener
Benomyl – a fungicide
Benzene a volatile organic chemical, formed through natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires. It is also formed from industrial processes, and is used to make plastics, rubber, resins and synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke.
Bioallethrin (s-bioallethrin) a pesticide
Bis(tri-n-butyltin)oxide a biocide
Bisphenol A This chemical is the main ingredient in polycarbonate plastic, used to make water bottles, baby bottles and food storage and heating trays; and epoxy resin, which is used in the lining of most food and beverage cans.
Butylated Hydroxy Anisole – a food additive, better known as BHA.
Butylated hydroxytoluene a toluene-based ingredient used as a preservative in food and personal care products.
Cadmium – a natural element in the Earth's crust. It is found in food, and people can be exposed from smoking cigarettes or breathing cigarette smoke or from water or industrial facilities which release it into the air.
Carbaryl -- insecticide
Carbon monoxide -- an odorless and colorless toxic gas
Chlordecone – an insecticide.
Chlorine dioxide – a chemical mostly used to disinfect water.
Chlorpyrifos -- insecticide
Cypermethrin --insecticide
DEET – a common ingredient in insect repellents
Deltamethrin -- insecticide
Diazinon – a pesticide
Dieldrin an insecticide no longer produced in the U.S., but still found in the environment.
Ethanol – grain alcohol, produced from crops such as corn, used as a fuel additive, solvent and for other purposes.
Ethylene thiourea – an industrial chemical mostly used to make rubber products, but also in the manufacture of fungicides and rodenticides.
Fluazinam – a fungicide
Heptachlor – a non-agricultural insecticide, whose use is now very limited.
Hexachlorobenzene can be formed as a byproduct during the manufacture of chemicals used as solvents, other chlorine-containing compounds, and pesticides. Small amounts of hexachlorobenzene can also be produced during combustion processes such as burning of city wastes. Currently, the substance is not used commercially in the United States.
Hexachlorophene – a disinfectant.
Lead This heavy metal occurs naturally in the Earth's crust. It was formerly used as a gasoline additive and was also commonly added to paint. Lead pipes may also contaminate drinking water. Currently, coal-fired power plants and other industrial uses release lead particles into the air.
Lindane – a chemical used to treat scabies and lice.
Maneb a fungicide
Methanol – also known as wood alcohol, an alternative fuel, and other uses
Methylparathion – a pesticide
Monosodium Glutamate – a flavor enhancer, used as a food additive
Nicotine – the addictive drug in tobacco
Methoxyethanol, 2 an organic compound used mainly as a solvent
Methylmercury - a form of mercury found in contaminated fresh water and salt water fish. It gets into the air when coal, oil or wood are burned as fuel, or when mercury-contaminated wastes are incinerated.
Ozone – a gas that occurs both in the Earth's upper atmosphere and at ground level
Paraquat – an herbicide.
Parathion (ethyl) – an insecticide
PBDEs Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, called PBDEs, are used as flame retardants, among other purposes. Some types of PBDEs have been banned, or phased out, but industry has developed others to replace them.
PCBs (generic) Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of chemicals that were used as insulation in electrical transformers, and for other industrial purposes. They are no longer manufactured, but have persisted in the environment.
Permethrin – an insecticide
Phthalate, di-(2-ethylhexyl) This phthalate, commonly referred to as DEHP, is found in many plastic products.
Tebuconazole – a fungicide
Toluene – a common solvent, found in many consumer goods, including floor polish, moisturizing cream, lubricating oils, paint thinners.
Tributyltin chloride – Manmade organic substances containing the metal tin. They are used as pesticides and biocides in marine antifouling paints and in wood preservatives.
Trichlorfon an insecticide
Trichloroethylene – used as a solvent to clean metal parts and for other industrial processes, often found as a water contaminant.

 

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