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Lawmakers: Reduce Minnesotans' exposure to toxic chemicals

ADHD, which impacts 11 percent of children, is the most common behavioral disorder in children in the U.S. A bill introduced in the Minnesota Legislature would reduce families’ exposure to chemicals linked to neurological disorders like ADHD. This policy is important because children’s exposure to some chemicals can have lifelong health and societal impacts. Children with ADHD are at higher risk of substance abuse, conduct or mood disorders, poor academic performance and lower earnings into adulthood. As the mother of a son with ADHD, I see firsthand the life challenges kids with ADHD face every day.

So what is causing this increase in ADHD? The National Academy of Sciences estimates that combinations of environmental factors, including exposure to toxic chemicals, along with genetic susceptibility, cause or contribute to at least 25 percent of learning and developmental disabilities in American children. Besides pollution, there are many chemicals used in consumer products that impact neurodevelopment, including flame retardants, which are added to furniture, electronics, building materials and other products.

Because of the widespread use of flame retardant chemicals, Americans carry much higher levels of these chemicals in their bodies than anyone else in the world. They migrate out of couches, get into the dust inside our homes and make their way into our bodies.
Both nationally and locally, policymakers are taking a serious look at the impact these chemicals have on our health and wellness. In Minnesota, the Firefighter and Children Health Protection Act (HF 1100 and SF 1215) would prohibit 10 toxic flame retardants from upholstered furniture and children’s products. I urge the public’s support for this bill to protect Minnesota’s children and firefighters from unnecessary exposures to harmful chemicals.

Ask any parent with a child diagnosed with ADHD and they’ll tell you, the personal, emotional and psychological challenges to the child and their family is tremendous.

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