Table of Contents
ISRN Toxicology
Volume 2012, Article ID 814795, 12 pages
Review Article

Developmental Neurotoxicity: Some Old and New Issues

1Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, 4225 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98105, USA
2Department of Human Anatomy, Pharmacology and Forensic Science, University of Parma Medical School, 43121 Parma, Italy

Received 8 March 2012; Accepted 29 April 2012

Academic Editors: C. L. Chern, K. M. Erikson, M. G. Robson, and S. M. Waliszewski

Copyright © 2012 Gennaro Giordano and Lucio G. Costa. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The developing central nervous system is often more vulnerable to injury than the adult one. Of the almost 200 chemicals known to be neurotoxic, many are developmental neurotoxicants. Exposure to these compounds in utero or during childhood can contribute to a variety of neurodevelopmental and neurological disorders. Two established developmental neurotoxicants, methylmercury and lead, and two classes of chemicals, the polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants and the organophosphorus insecticides, which are emerging as potential developmental neurotoxicants, are discussed in this paper. Developmental neurotoxicants may also cause silent damage, which would manifest itself only as the individual ages, and may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases. Guidelines for developmental neurotoxicity testing have been implemented, but there is still room for their improvement and for searching and validating alternative testing approaches.