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Toxic Chemicals Are Stealing Millions of IQ Points From Kids in the US, New Study Shows

Some of the worst chemicals are found on common furniture items, electronics, and even children’s clothing.

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(TMU) — The latest research out of New York University’s (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine is anything but encouraging.

A total of 162 million IQ points have been lost and 738,000 cases of intellectual disability gained in the United States thanks to exposure to flame retardants alone.

But the study published January 14 in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology didn’t stop there. Researchers looked at the effects of exposure to toxins like lead, mercury, pesticides, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants) among children between 2001 and 2016.

Lead exposure resulted in a loss of 78 million IQ points among U.S. children, pesticides accounted for a loss of 27 million points, and mercury came in last with a loss of 2.5 million IQ points.

Leo Trasande, a pediatrician and public health researcher at NYU said:

Kids’ brain development is exquisitely vulnerable. If you disrupt, even with subtle effects, the way a child’s brain is wired, [it] can have permanent and lifelong consequences.

Most of the children negatively affected by these toxins were likely exposed in utero via common household objects, potentially setting them up for a lifetime of difficulties before having even been born.

Despite a parent or pregnant mother’s best efforts flame retardants, pesticides, and more can still find their way into the body. Flame retardants are found on a host of furniture items, electronics, and children’s clothing. Pesticides can be found on fresh produce and in food bought at a store or restaurant that was prepared with conventional produce. Lead can be found in many older homes but is still used today in commercial paint, including that used on children’s playground equipment.

The latest research takes the damaging and irreversible effects of these toxins a step further and looks at the economic impact of such a widespread problem and the results are grim. The effects of such pervasive childhood brain damage has cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars.

According to the researchers, one IQ point is worth roughly two percent of a person’s lifetime economic productivity. Trasande explained:

If a child comes back from school with one less IQ point, maybe mum or the parent might not notice. But if 100,000 children come back with one less IQ point, the entire economy notices.

If a child’s eventual lifetime productive is $1 million one lost IQ point would equal $20,000. That’s a lot.

Trasande estimates that when all is said and done, the lost IQ points from 2001 to 2016 due to the toxins mentioned above amounts to a loss of $6 trillion in the U.S. economy. And that’s just the hit to economic productivity—it doesn’t factor in any extra care or social services children and adults may require from the brain damage caused by exposure to these select toxins.

While the use of some of these toxins were reduced and addressed years ago we’re still seeing their effects. Pesticides remain a constant problem despite the EPA having panned 37 thus far. Some states have restricted the use of certain flame retardants on certain applications but the gravity of this study proves there hasn’t been nearly enough action.

If more time, money, and energy continues to be put into how to manufacture and grow things rather than into how those things affect humans we will continue to see negative effects such as this. And this latest study just goes to show how multi-faceted the problem really is.

The study did however include one silver lining. The overall loss of IQ appears to be on the decline.

NYU Grossman School of Medicine researchers found that IQ loss from the toxic chemicals analyzed in their study dropped from 27 million IQ points in 2001 and 2002 to 9 million IQ points in 2015 and 2016.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Scientists Thrilled by Discovery of Rare, Mammoth 400-Year-Old Coral

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A massive 400-year-old hard coral discovered on the Great Barrier Reef has scientists expressing their sense of surprise and excitement.

Named Muga dambhi by the Manbarra people, the Indigenous group who have traditionally taken care of the land, the “exceptionally large” brown and cream-colored coral is located off the coast of Goolboodi or Orpheus Island in the Great Barrier Reef.

It is believed that the coral was spawned some 421 to 438 years ago, meaning that its age predates the arrival of Captain James Cook and the advent of colonization in Australia, notes the Guardian.

The spectacular coral is about 35 feet wide and over 17 feet high, and is double the size of the nearest coral.

Scientists and members of the community participating in a marine science course discovered the specimen earlier this year.

While not the largest coral in the world, the huge find is of major significance to the local ecosystem, according to Adam Smith, an adjunct professor at James Cook University who wrote the field note on the find.

“It’s like a block of apartments,” Smith said. “It attracts other species. There’s other corals, there’s fish, there’s other animals around that use it for shelter or for feeding, so it’s pretty important for them.”

“It’s a bit like finding a giant redwood tree in the middle of a botanic gardens,” he added.

It is likely that the coral hasn’t been discovered for such a long time due to its location in a relatively remote and unvisited portion of a Marine National Park zone that enjoys a high degree of protection.

“Over the last 20 or 30 years, no one has noticed, or observed, or thought it newsworthy enough to share photos, or document, or do research on this giant coral,” Smith said.

The coral is in remarkable condition, with over 70 percent of its surface covered in live coral, coral rock and microalgae. No disease, bleaching or recently deceased coral has been recorded on the specimen.

“The cumulative impact of almost 100 bleaching events and up to 80 major cyclones over a period of four centuries, plus declining nearshore water quality contextualise the high resilience of this Porites coral,” the field note added.

The specific coral has been given the name Muga dhambi, meaning big coral, out of respect for the Indigenous knowledge, language, and culture of the Manbarra Traditional Owners.

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Greenland Ice Washed Away as Summit Sees Rain for First Time in Recorded History

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For the first time in recorded history, torrential downpours of rain have struck Greenland’s icy summit nearly two miles above sea level.

Greenland, an environmentally sensitive island, is typically known for its majestic ice sheet and snowy climate, but this is fast changing due to a massive melt taking place this summer.

However, the typical snowfall has been replaced in recent years not simply by a few showers, but by heavy rainfall. The torrential downpour last week was so huge, in fact, that it washed away a terrifying amount of ice across some 337,000 square miles of the ice shelf’s surface, reports Earther.

Temperatures at the ice shelf had simultaneously warmed to a significant degree, with the summit reaching 33 degrees Fahrenheit – within a degree above freezing and the third time that the shelf has surpassed freezing temperatures this decade.

The fact that rain is falling on ice rather than snow is also significant because it is melting ice across much of southern Greenland, which already saw huge melting events last month, while hastening rising sea levels that threaten to submerge whole coastal cities and communities.

To make matters worse, any new ice formed by the freezing rainwater will not last long. The ice shelf currently existing on Greenland was formed by the compression of snow over innumerable years, which shines bright white and reflects sunlight away rather than absorbing it, as ice from frozen rain does.

The huge scale of the melt and accompanying rainfall illustrate the growing peril of rapidly warming climate conditions across the globe.

“This event by itself does not have a huge impact, but it’s indicative of the increasing extent, duration, and intensity of melting on Greenland,” wrote Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. “Like the heat wave in the [U.S. Pacific] northwest, it’s something that’s hard to imagine without the influence of global climate change.”

“Greenland, like the rest of the world, is changing,” Scambos told the Washington Post. “We now see three melting events in a decade in Greenland — and before 1990, that happened about once every 150 years. And now rainfall: in an area where rain never fell.”

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South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash

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What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs, but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?

It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power, but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.

The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.

The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.

“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”

The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school day.

Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.

Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.

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