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. 2004 Jun;112(9):944-9.
doi: 10.1289/ehp.6601.

Neurodevelopment and Endocrine Disruption

Free PMC article

Neurodevelopment and Endocrine Disruption

Theo Colborn. Environ Health Perspect. .
Free PMC article


In this article I explore the possibility that contaminants contribute to the increasing prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and associated neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems in developed countries. I discuss the exquisite sensitivity of the embryo and fetus to thyroid disturbance and provide evidence of human in utero exposure to contaminants that can interfere with the thyroid. Because it may never be possible to link prenatal exposure to a specific chemical with neurodevelopmental damage in humans, I also present alternate models where associations have been made between exposure to specific chemicals or chemical classes and developmental difficulties in laboratory animals, wildlife, and humans.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Role of thyroid hormones in fetal neurologic development in relation to timing of several landmark stages of development. Figure adapted from Howdeshell (2002).

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