The Learning Disabilities Association’s Healthy Children Project goals are to:
- raise awareness of environmental factors, particularly toxic chemicals, that can harm brain development, contributing to learning disabilities and behavior disorders.
- promote policies and practices to prevent toxic chemical exposures, especially among pregnant women and children.
- build a nationwide network of LDA members working to protect children’s health and reduce toxic exposures that may lead to learning disabilities in current and future generations.
Nearly 1 in 6 American children are diagnosed with a learning or developmental disability. The Academy of National Sciences estimates that environmental factors, including toxic chemicals, cause or contribute to at least a quarter of learning and developmental disabilities in American children.
Project TENDR is a unique collaboration of leading scientists, health professionals and children’s and environmental advocates. We came together in 2015 out of concern over the now substantial scientific evidence linking toxic environmental chemicals to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, intellectual disability and learning disorders.
People’s exposures to these chemicals are widespread and begin in utero. Infants and young children are especially at risk of harm because their bodies and brains are still developing, and chemicals can interfere with sensitive biological processes during critical developmental periods.
On July 1, 2016, Project TENDR is releasing a scientific Consensus Statement as a national Call To Action to significantly reduce exposures to chemicals and pollutants that are contributing to neurodevelopmental disorders in America’s children.
TENDR is led by Co-Directors Maureen Swanson, leader of the Healthy Children Project of the Learning Disabilities Association of America and Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of epidemiology and environmental health at UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences.
Project TENDR is generously supported by the John Merck Fund, Passport Foundation, Ceres Trust and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.