Air Date: Week of April 28, 2000
Cynthia Graber reports on new technologies that are making it possible to produce synthetic fibers and plastic wrapping entirely from plants.
TOOMEY: Pollution is dumbing down the human race, and the scale of the problem, a British researcher charges, is woefully underestimated. That's because a number of factors may be working together to damage our brains. In a review of previous studies, Chris Williams, a social scientist at the University of London, found pollution from lead, PCBs, and nuclear radiation are affecting brain development and lowering intelligence levels worldwide. In some parts of Africa, for example, 90 percent of children have levels of lead in the blood high enough to damage their IQs. Deforestation may be making the situation worse, because nutrients that we need for proper brain development, like iron and iodine, are being washed out of crop soil. Humans, Mr. Williams concludes, are hurting their brains through the very technology they so smartly developed in the first place. And that's this week's Living on Earth health update. I'm Diane Toomey.
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