Sunday, 10 July 2016

Project TENDR and chemical exposures

Yes, I know I'm writing on a Sunday again, but it will be a short-ish post I promise you. The reason for the entry is this brief communication [1] reporting: "The TENDR [Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks] authors agree that widespread exposures to toxic chemicals in our air, water, food, soil, and consumer products can increase the risks for cognitive, behavioral, or social impairment, as well as specific neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)."

The press release accompanying the paper is here. Given the focus on neurodevelopmental disorders including autism it is perhaps not surprising that several of the signatories on the paper are stalwarts of the idea that 'environment' may play a not insignificant role when it comes to at least some autism. If you need examples, look no further than here and here.

I know there are still often heated discussions/arguments (delete as appropriate) about how environment - or non-genetic factors - might fit into the quite marked increase in the numbers of people being diagnosed with autism and various other developmental conditions. I think most people will appreciate that although there are clues in the current peer-reviewed literature to possible effects for some, a lot more science is needed to substantiate specific environmental risks and importantly, potential mode(s) of action when it comes to something like autism or ADHD as a clinical endpoint. There are however signs that science is starting to move in the right direction (see here)...

Set within changes to some of the regulatory affairs when it comes to how countries ensure 'chemicals' are safe (being careful about how one uses the word 'chemical') and perhaps because years of looking for the 'genetics of autism' has yielded only partial results (see here), it is starting to become better accepted that elements of our environment might also affect risk for many conditions, including those potentially affecting development.

To close, the news that Morrissey is returning to these hallowed shores naturally invites a song from the man driving a tractor...


[1] Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks. The TENDR Consensus Statement. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2016.; 124: A118-A122.

---------- Bennett, D., Bellinger, D., Birnbaum, L., Bradman, A., Chen, A., Cory-Slechta, D., Engel, S., Fallin, M., Halladay, A., Hauser, R., Hertz-Picciotto, I., Kwiatkowski, C., Lanphear, B., Marquez, E., Marty, M., McPartland, J., Newschaffer, C., Payne-Sturges, D., Patisaul, H., Perera, F., Ritz, B., Sass, J., Schantz, S., Webster, T., Whyatt, R., Woodruff, T., Zoeller, R., Anderko, L., Campbell, C., Conry, J., DeNicola, N., Gould, R., Hirtz, D., Huffling, K., Landrigan, P., Lavin, A., Miller, M., Mitchell, M., Rubin, L., Schettler, T., Tran, H., Acosta, A., Brody, C., Miller, E., Miller, P., Swanson, M., Witherspoon, N., , ., , ., , ., , ., , ., , ., , ., , ., & , . (2016). Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks The TENDR Consensus Statement Environmental Health Perspectives, 124 (7) DOI: 10.1289/EHP358