Autism linked to environment

Autism linked to environment

Researchers at the University of California have linked soaring rates of autism and autism spectrum disorders with feotal and infant exposure to pesticides and household chemicals.

California has seen a seven fold increase from 1990 to 2001 in the incidence of diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders, and the authors of the study are advocating a shift in focus for autism researchers to environmental factors.

“It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, the leader of the study and an epidemiology professor at University of California.

Throughout the US, the numbers of autistic children have increased dramatically since 1990.

Autistic children have many social and educational problems, including communicating and interacting socially, symptoms which are usually evident when the child is still a toddler.

The increases relate not to toddlers but to kids who develop autism as they grow older, something that has not been seen before.

That means the rest is unexplained and likely caused by something that pregnant women or infants, or growing children, are exposed to, possibly more environmental than genetic factors.

The study was published by Scientific American 9/1/09


Mercury-based vaccinations have long been suspected of causing autism, and recently a class action in the US undertaken by groups of parents against vaccine manufacturers was successful.

Unfortunately most medical research worldwide is supported by pharmaceutical companies who do not take too kindly to criticism of vaccination.

Included in this is the US Institute of Medicine which refused to accept submissions about an autism/thimerisol (mercury-based preservative) link.

For further reading on this, see A Dragon by the Tail which discusses this.

Adapted for by Mark O’Brien

See also Our Chemical Lives on the Australian ABC website for a discussion of the chemicals in daily use in our lives that are never tested for safety.

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