Environmental contaminants, which include several heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, and other harmful chemicals, impair several domains of child development. This article describes four themes from recent research on the impact of environmental contaminants on child development. The first theme, disparities in exposure, focuses on how marginalized communities are disproportionately exposed to harmful environmental contaminants. The second theme, complexity of exposures, encapsulates recent emphases on timing of exposures and mixtures of multiple exposures. The third theme, mechanisms that link exposures to outcomes, focuses on processes that elucidate how contaminants impact outcomes. The fourth theme, mitigating risks associated with exposures, sheds light on potential protective factors that could ameliorate many of the harmful effects of contaminant exposures. Developmental scientists are well positioned to contribute to interdisciplinary research that addresses these themes, which could foster additional conceptual and empirical innovations and inform policies and practices to mitigate risks and improve children’s well-being.
Authors: Christopher J Trentacosta, Daniel J Mulligan
; Full Source: New directions for child and adolescent development 2020 Sep 13. doi: 10.1002/cad.20363.