"EPA Develops Neurotoxicants List, New Testing"

"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 disorders, American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop has learned.

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

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

The Investigative Reporting Workshop visited the scientists here 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 lac"

Sheila Kaplan reports for American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop and Politics Daily December 22, 2010.