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Exposure to persistent organic pollutants, largely ingested from the fat in animal products, has been shown to be associated with learning disability and attention-deficit disorder in children, as reported by parents. Blood levels of the seven most commonly detected persistent organic pollutants were measured in 278 children aged 12-15 from a larger US population survey. Those with high serum concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans showed about twice the prevalence of learning disability and attention-deficit disorder than those in whom the pollutants were undetectable.
The authors are cautious in ascribing causation as their study was cross sectional, but it is probably the first such study and could imply that in some children, learning disability and attention-deficit disorder may be preventable.