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LDDI: Our Principles and Goals

We believe everyone deserves a healthy, just and sustainable future. Escalating rates of learning and developmental disabilities prevent many children from reaching their fullest potential and prevent those with disabilities from leading healthy lives. Because environmental pollution contributes to these disabilities, LDDI members are committed to minimizing environmental pollutants found in our homes, schools, offices and communities.
When we as a society had the political will to eliminate DDT from use and then lead from gasoline and paint, we found alternatives and created healthier, more economically vibrant communities. We now need to take even bolder steps to protect the health of those who are most vulnerable – today and for generations to come. LDDI, which represents over 500,000 individual members of associated organizations, is fully investing our time and resources to do just that.

Most learning and developmental disability (LDD) groups have traditionally focused on identifying kids with LDDs and getting them the services they need – something that is critically important to the lives of our members. That work, however, does not address the rising rates of LDDs in the first instance, nor does it protect members of the LDD community from ongoing hazards to their health and well-being. 

When we saw a need to educate and mobilize ourselves on the impacts of toxics to brain and body development, LDDI was formed to encourage the LDD sector to take a collective look “upstream” and to help prevent toxic threats to healthy neurological development. LDDI, established in 2002, is one of the most active working groups of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), an international partnership of scientists, health-care providers, health-affected groups, community-based organizations, advocates and other individuals committed to working collaboratively to eliminate environmental contributors to chronic health problems.

LDDI has four central goals:

  1. Educating state and national learning and developmental disabilities (LDD) groups about possible environmental links to LDDs.
  2. Translating emerging science into materials for lay audiences.
  3. Increasing collaboration and expanding partnerships among groups and individuals who are interested in promoting good health and preventing toxic exposures and other environmental factors that can lead to or exacerbate disabilities.
  4. Cultivating opportunities for interested groups to press for chemical policy reform and safer alternatives to neurotoxicants, such as mercury, pesticides, and persistent bioaccumulative toxins.


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