Toxic Chemicals and Toxic Stress
Toxic chemicals and toxic stress: For children, both dramatically increase the risk of serious, even life-threatening illness. They’re also more common than you may realize.
On December 5, 2017, our UCSF faculty discussed how a child’s environment can negatively impact health—be it exposure to emotional trauma or toxic substances. Learn how our experts are tackling these threats, and how you can help minimize risk at home and in your community.
Tom Boyce, MD For nearly 40 years, Tom Boyce, MD, has been studying psychological stress as a disease risk factor in children. Early relationships, Boyce says, fundamentally affect the growth and maturation of the brain, impacting the ability to learn and develop relationships for the rest of a child’s life. Not only do kids growing up with trauma and stress have lower IQs and face mental health challenges, they are at higher risk for lifelong chronic diseases.
Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH As director of UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, leads a team of experts to identify, measure, and prevent exposure to toxic chemicals. A former scientist and policy advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency, she’s spreading the word about how little is known about many of the chemicals commonly found in water, food, air, and furniture—and how they can cause serious illness.
Enrich your understanding of the risks of toxic chemicals and stress.
- Toxic Exposure: Chemicals Are in Our Water, Food, Air and Furniture (UCSF Magazine)
- Contaminating Our Bodies With Everyday Products (New York Times)
- The Orchid Child and the Science of Kindness (lecture, Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education)
- Undoing the Harm of Childhood Trauma and Adversity (UCSF News Center)
- Poor Health: When Poverty Becomes Disease (UCSF Magazine)
Resources: Learn how to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals:
Explore resources for helping children heal from early trauma:toxic stress conversations on children's health
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