Can Environmental Factors Stall Brain Development in Children?

environmental factors may stall brain development in children

We are all exposed to different detrimental factors in our environment. But, pregnant women, infants, and children seem to be more susceptible to brain damage from contaminated environment.

There is a study that suggested environmental factors may stall brain development in children. This article outlines the causes, common toxins and mechanisms behind impaired brain development in children.

Risk Factors

Thyroid hormone production is responsible for normal brain development. Pregnant women, infants, and children who come in contact with environmental toxins may experience obstruction to their body’s normal regulation of the thyroid hormone.

Some of the possible negative effects may include lowered birth weight, memory problems, and tremor and ADHD-type behaviors. Chemicals which may cause these disorders are sometimes common in our environment. They include organophosphate pesticides, perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), mercury, arsenic, lead, fire retardants, and others.

How to Avoid Them?

If you don’t live in an isolated village up in the mountains, you have probably encountered some of these toxins. Heightened industrial production and in some case poor regulation has led to an increased accumulation of these dangerous chemicals in urban areas.

But there are precautions that we can take to avoid coming into contact with them. For one, try to purchase organic, naturally-produced fruits and vegetables. If that is too expensive for you, get informed about the amount of pesticides used in the products you buy.

You should avoid water-resistant coatings on furniture and clothes because they contain PFC. Eat sustainably farmed seafood, since it does not contain mercury. Use water filters and keep your house as clean as possible. It will reduce the amount of lead or arsenic you may be exposed to.


It is important for us to understand that environmental factors may stall brain development in children. The young and the unborn are particularly susceptible. Although protecting our children from toxins in urban environment might seem difficult, it doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

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