The Alliance For A Clean Environment

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Learning Disabilities

Statistics by Penn State Graduate Students – 2002
Source: Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (IU 23) was compared to (IU 17)
Statewide Statistics: Pennsylvania Department of Education
Census Figures: 1990 and 2000
Autism: Several websites including:,, nich.nih.gib/autism and Naar

1990 to 2000

Montgomery County                                                  +94 %

Least Polluted Comparison Area                                                        + 40.2 %
Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga Counties

Pennsylvania                                                                                      + 46.6 %

1990 to 2000

Total Enrollment in Montgomery County Schools Down           -           10.9 %

Learning Disabilities have Risen Threefold in Montgomery County in comparison to the population - from 1990 to 2000

1990 to 2000

Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Total Enrollment+    32.7 %
Montgomery County    -     Learning Impairment Services +    32.7 %
Least Polluted Counties    -    Learning Impairment Services+     1 %

1990 to 2000 - ADD/ADHD and Autism

Montgomery County ADD/ADHD+    32.7 %
Montgomery County Autism +    310 %

     • Montgomery County is one of the most chemically polluted counties in the nation, according to Score Card’s pollution indicator.

     • ADD and AUTISM are Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

     • Heavily emitted neurological and developmental toxins in Montgomery County could be Major Factors in Increased Learning Disabilities, ADD, and Autism.

Vinyl Chloride, Mercury, Methyl Isobuatyl Ketone, TCE, and Lead are all neurological toxins. The Pottstown Landfill is a source of ALL these neurological toxins. They travel downwind into many parts of Montgomery County. Researchers had difficulty determining exact amounts emitted by the Pottstown Landfill, since landfills are not required to report to EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory.

     • Occidental Chemical in Pottstown has emitted over 1½ Million Pounds of Vinyl Chloride into Montgomery County’s air since 1988 and has ranked 1st and 2nd in the nation in Vinyl Chloride emissions.

Montgomery County Children Have Doubled Increases In Learning Disabilities
Compared To Lesser Polluter Counties and the State - 1990 to 2000

Montgomery County is one of the most POLLUTED Counties in the Nation, according to Score Card’s pollution indicator.
Ironically, all Pottstown Landfill’s toxic emissions are not included by Score Card.

Children everywhere are experiencing unacceptable increases in learning disabilities which suggest a serious problem. These disabilities are clearly the result of complex interactions among environmental, social, and genetic factors that impact children during vulnerable periods of development.

There is new understanding about the effects of environmental chemicals on these processes. Developmental disabilities, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and related neurodevelopmental diseases affect millions of American children. The consequences of these disorders are often tragic. The family, social and economic costs are immense, and the disabilities can be life-long. Studies of animals and children show subtle changes in the concentrations of normally occurring chemicals such as hormones – as well as the presence of toxic agents like lead, mercury, or PCB’s – can produce profound and permanent changes in the developing nervous system. These can lead to decrements in mental performance.

Developmental processes are extremely vulnerable to environmental insult. For detailed information refer to “In Harm’s Way - Toxic Threats to Child Development,” by Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility and “Polluting Our Future: Chemical Emissions in the U.S. that Affect Child Development and Learning,” by Physicians For Social Responsibility, at (202) 898-0150,

Studies demonstrate that a variety of chemicals commonly encountered in industry can contribute to developmental, learning, and behavioral disabilities. Developmental neurotoxicants are chemicals that are toxic to the developing brain. They include the metals lead, mercury, cadmium, and manganese, and pesticides such as organophosphates. PCB’s, and DIOXINS bioaccumulate and are directly toxic to cells and neurotransmitters.

With widespread use and disposal of all these chemicals and metals which affect learning disabilities, it is easy to understand why learning disabilities increased in PA by 46.6%, and even in the least polluted PA counties by 40.2% from 1990 to 2000. But, how do we explain such shocking Montgomery County increases in learning disabilities (more than twice the state and comparison area) 94%, ADHD (32.7%), and autism at 310%? This represents an epidemic.

ACE believes Montgomery County children face a chemical plague. A major factor is toxic air releases. The kinds of neurotoxins which cause learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism are emitted into the air 7 days a week from the Pottstown Landfill and Occidental Chemical. Both emit unknown amounts of dioxin. The Pottstown Landfill emits synergistic and additive combinations of nearly every neurotoxin. These can become far more toxic as they synergize. Mercury is just one example. Occidental Chemical in Pottstown has emitted 1½ million pounds of vinyl chloride since 1988. These emissions travel downwind through many parts of Montgomery County.

Toxic Air Releases Need to Be Reduced and/or Eliminated

P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464

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