Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Healthy Children Project at the 2008 LDA Conference

There will be many opportunities at the 2008 LDA Conference to learn how toxic chemicals such as pesticides, lead, mercury and flame retardants can harm brain development, leading to learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Find out how you can get involved to help safeguard children’s health by reducing exposures to toxic chemicals at home, school and play.

Conference highlights include:

Environmental Health Workshop: (Wednesday, February 27, 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.) Experts in the fields of psychology, brain development, early childhood learning and environmental health will present “Teaching Reading: How Environmental Toxicants Impair Learning.” The speakers will address how prenatal or early childhood exposure to neurotoxicants – such as pesticides, flame retardants, mercury and lead – can impact children’s brain development. Panelists will explore the effects of these toxic substances on cognition, academics and behavior, and ways to reduce the risks of exposure.

Nationally known neurologist David Bellinger of Harvard University’s School of Public Health will moderate the workshop proceedings, and will present, “Strategies for Assessing the Effects of Environmental Exposures on Learning.” The workshop is sponsored by the Heinz Endowments and the Learning Disabilities Foundation of America.

Lead-Testing Demonstration: (Wednesday, February 27, 5:15-7:30 p.m.) Bring your toys, jewelry and other items to the Healthy Children Project booth for testing to see if they contain lead and at what levels. A Chicago representative of Innov-X Systems will provide demonstrations of the portable, hand-held XRF technology to screen products for lead over the course of several hours at no charge to conference attendees.

LDA’s Healthy Children Project: Acting to Reduce Toxic Chemical Exposures (Thursday, February 28, 8:30-9:30 a.m.) This session provides an opportunity to talk with LDA’s Healthy Children Project Coordinator and state affiliates active in Healthy Children Project efforts. After an overview of the HCP goals and strategies, we will hold an interactive, open meeting to engage a range of viewpoints, ask questions, and brainstorm joint projects and activities.

Learning Disabilities and the Environment: Scientific Consensus, Policy Opportunities and Consumer Campaigns, (Thursday, February 28, 11:15 a.m.–12 p.m.) Elise Miller, executive director of the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health and coordinator of the Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI), will highlight how members of the LDDI are translating the science on neurotoxicants into effective public health policies and consumer actions that protect children’s health.

Children’s Environmental Health Legislation, (Friday, February 29, 8:30 a.m.) LDA members are highly effective advocates for legislation that protects children from toxic chemicals in toys, furniture, food and other products. Many of these chemicals are linked to learning and behavior problems. LDA advocates will provide the most current news of state and federal legislation related to children’s health and the environment, and will share ways to get involved in your state.

Friday Keynote Session (Friday, February 29, 9:45 a.m.): Dr. Peter Scheidt, Director of the National Children’s Study, will speak about the Study, now underway, which will follow 100,000 children from birth to age 21. Researchers will gather data on children’s genetic makeup and biological, chemical, environmental, physical and social factors. The aim of the study is to gain insight on preventing and treating diseases and conditions such as birth defects, diabetes, autism, cancers and obesity.

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