People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have the right to live, work, learn, worship and play in environments that are healthy and safe.
Environmental health can be defined as "freedom from illness or injury related to exposure to toxic agents and other environmental conditions that are potentially detrimental to human health" 1. Environmental exposures play a key role in human growth and development, maintenance of health and in the development of disability and disease 2,3 . The health impacts of contaminated homes, work places and communities pose a greater risk for the developing fetus, children, and people who already have compromising health issues and are faced with health disparities greater than the general population because they are uniquely vulnerable. This includes those living with an intellectual or developmental disability. Advocacy around environmental health involves working to reduce the environmental hazards that contribute to intellectual and developmental disabilities, and to minimize further risks to health for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Numerous pollutants in the environment including contaminants such as lead, mercury, pesticides, carbon monoxide, radon, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants and solvents, can affect brain development and function and contribute to adverse health outcomes and health disparities4 .
With regards to environmental health, our constituents must:
With regard to developing fetus and children:
Adopted by the AAIDD Board of Directors on April 17, 2006
1. Pope AM, Snyder MA, Mood LH, eds. Nursing, Health & the Environment, Institute of Medicine Report . Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1995.
2. Healthy People 2010. Environmental Health. Retrieved 3/24/06 from
3. Schroeder, S.R., (2000). Mental retardation and developmental disabilities influenced by environmental neurotoxic insults. Environmental Health Perspectives 108(S3).
4. Schettler, T., Stein, J., Reich, F., Valenti, M.,(2000). In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development Project Addressing Toxic Chemical Influences on Developmental Disabilities. Retrieved 3/24/06 from http://psr.igc.org/ihw-download-report.htm .
5. U.S Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Worker Rights Under The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1970. Retrieved 3/24/06 from http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker/rights.html .