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Chemicals in Plastics Damage Babies' Brains and Must Be Banned Immediately, Expert Group Says

Synthetic chemicals called phthalates are damaging children's brain development and therefore must be immediately banned from consumer products, according to a group of scientists and health professionals from Project TENDR.

Project TENDR, which stands for Targeting Environmental Neuro-Development Risks, is a group of volunteer scientists, health professionals and child advocates working to study and reduce children's exposure to neurotoxic chemicals and pollutants.

"What we want to accomplish is to move the public health community, including regulators, toward this goal of elimination of phthalates," said lead author Stephanie Engel.

"We have enough evidence right now to be concerned about the impact of these chemicals on a child's risk of attention, learning and behavioral disorders," said Engel, a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.

"I hope that this paper will act as a wake-up call to understand that early life exposure to this class of chemicals is affecting our children," said toxicologist Linda Birnbaum, former director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, as well as the National Toxicology Program. She was not involved in the paper.

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