In 2002, the Learning Disabilities Association of America created the healthy children project 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.
According to a 2011 report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 6 American children were diagnosed with a learning or developmental disability in 2008. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that environmental factors, including toxic chemicals, cause or contribute to at least a quarter of learning and developmental disabilities in American children. In recent decades, scientists have learned that the developing human brain is much more susceptible to toxic substances than the adult brain, and that certain chemicals can have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe.