Eco-Sensitive Autism: the Environment & Autism

(Photo by: nicoleta gramada/Flickr)

As previously reported on, a U.S. special vaccine court ruled against parents who sued on claims that their children developed autism because of dangerous, mercury-based chemicals that were used vaccines in three separate cases.

What this does, does not change is the numbers: autism still affects 1 in 91 children and the reasons why are still unclear.  Perhaps, for some, this may seem to be turning point in the controversy surrounding autism and vaccines. Perhaps,  more parents and families that have children with autism,  will step back and begin to look at another noted cause-possibility: the environment and autism.

Science journalist Catherine Zandonella points out that while the link between autism and genetics is known, a human’s genes do not change over the time-line of a mere few decades.  What can change significantly is the amount of toxic substances in the environment. Many professionals in the autism community regularly make note the increase comes in a time of technological boom.

As autism researchers know, during infancy, the brain is very vulnerable.  Looking deeper, it can be see that chemicals in the environment can affect a child’s brain include: arsenic, lead, cadmium, methylmercury, manganese and many more.  While there is yet to be a proven, direct, study showing the link between the environment and autism, the early exposure of these chemicals can cause both learning and behavior problems.

Also, cleaning products, building materials, motor vehicle fuels and other common items are all part of what makes up the 3,000 chemicals that children can be susceptible to.  It gets worse: less than 20% of these new chemicals have been exhaustively tested with regard to their potential effects on growing children.

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