12 toxins that kill brain cells

Experts have named 12 chemicals that can lower IQ levels in children, cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and provoke autism during fetal development. These substances are found not only in the environment, but also in household items such as furniture and clothing. Scientists are especially concerned about the fact that children around the world are exposed to toxic chemicals, the danger of which is not officially recognized by the state.


Children are increasingly diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and neurobehavioral developmental disorders are diagnosed in 10-15% of newborns. Subclinical decreased brain function is even more common. Moreover, genetic factors cause such disorders only in 30–40% of cases.

Philip Grandjin (Harvard Bellinger College) and Philip Landrigan (Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Manhattan) draw attention to these facts in their studies. They suggest that environmental factors are involved in causation, in some cases combined with genetic factors. And they cite evidence that chemicals widely used by various industries play a role in a “quiet” pandemic of psychomotor disorders.


They include the most dangerous neurotoxin chemicals:

  • methylmercury,
  • polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),
  • ethanol,
  • lead,
  • arsenic,
  • toluene,
  • manganese,
  • fluorine,
  • chlorpyrifos,
  • tetrachlorethylene,
  • polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE),
  • dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane.

Of course, it’s no secret that many of the chemicals on this list are toxic. The question is how often we encounter them and whether we control it. And the consequences of such contacts are far from always studied and predictable. For instance, lead was present in gasoline, paint paints and even children’s toys for decades before scientists realized its negative effects on humans.

Fluorine useful at low doses: it helps prevent tooth decay and strengthen bones. However, in high doses, it causes dental and bone lesions and negatively affects the growth of the brain. But, of course, this is not about toothpaste.

Of great concern fire retardants Is a group of compounds known as PBDEs. These chemicals began to be used instead of banned PCBs. By the time they were found to cause cancer and weaken the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems, they were used in hundreds of foods, such as plastics and rubber. Manufacturers switched to PBDEs. However, it has already been proven that PBDEs, used to fire-retard furniture, reduce IQ and slow mental development.

In fact, no parent can protect their children from these toxins. And they are not excreted with sweat and remain in the body for a long time. About a quarter of the metabolism is aimed at ensuring and maintaining the functioning of the brain. To process even basic information, billions of chemical signals constantly pass between neurons. The process is so complex that the brain uses 10 times more calories per kilogram than all other organs in the body.


Most of the brain and its 86 billion neurons are formed during the first few months of an unborn child’s life, in the womb. For the brain to develop properly, neurons must line up in exact order under the influence of hormones and neurotransmitters, but neurotoxins can knock cells off course. In the early stages of life, even minor external influences can lead to irreversible damage to the brain, which would not have consequences for an adult.

What to do? Experts, including the aforementioned Philip Grandjin, recommend eating organic foods, that is, grown / produced with minimal or no pesticides, especially for pregnant women. Read more about toxins in an article on The Atlantic.

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