MPA Blog - May 2014


New “Wiki” for Mental Health Professionals: The Link Between Environmental Hazards and Neurodevelopment
William Bloom, Ph.D., LP, Chair, MPA Child and Family Committee
Juliana Roth, Ecology Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Psychologists, along with other healthcare professionals, are well aware of how important preventative care is to lowering one’s risk of adverse health consequences. Reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals is an overlooked but important method for reducing risk. The scientific literature is building a strong case for the relationship between exposure to hazardous chemicals and adverse neurodevelopment and behavioral health disorders. One promising area of study is the relationship of environmental hazards to the expression of autism www.autismspeaks.org/science/research-initiatives/environmental-factors-autism-initiative.

Hazardous chemicals are present in everyday household products www.healthystuff.org, including such things as baby shampoo www.huffingtonpost.com. As poised to be partners on the integrated healthcare front, a new area of competency for Psychologists is emerging; awareness of the intersection of psychology theory and practice and the developing science linking environmental hazards to neurodevelopmental, behavioral, and emotional disorders.

As a tool to be better informed of the link between our chemical environment and child neurodevelopment, behavior disorders, and emotions, the Ecology Center, along with its partner organizations, has launched a new “wiki” [http://wiki.mnceh.org/index.php/Introduction]. The goal of the wiki is to give healthcare providers, researchers and policymakers a forum to discuss and share scientifically-based findings on environmental factors and human health. The focus of the wiki is on research addressing these problems in children. The database is accessible by concerned parents and scientists alike.

The format of the “wiki” allows users to follow what scientists are learning about children’s environmental health at the moment, creating an essential link between the two for protecting children from exposure. It offers promise as a tool for Psychologists to access current thinking about the relationship of our chemical environment and its impact on our developing children. This tool is designed as a resource to our clients as well. The material on the wiki is edited for scientific value.

To sign up for the wiki and to contribute to its resources, go to:
http://wiki.mnceh.org/index.php/Introduction