This important health news was published in the journal “Environmental Health Perspectives.” This issue is particularly vital, as four other studies in the journal suggest a link between toxic chemicals and autism. And the end result is a call for more research to uncover all possible environmental causes of this life-changing condition.
It is estimated that three percent of all neurobehavioral disorders in children are caused by toxic exposure in the environment. Another 25% are caused by interactions between environmental factors and genetics. But the precise environmental causes are not yet known. While genetic links have been made clear, it is still believed that environmental causes may also play a role. It is up to scientists to understand the role of these toxins in autism that now affects approximately 500,000 of the four million U.S. children born each year.
What’s striking is that so many chemicals in wide use have not even gone through minimal tests about toxic effects. Imagine if one child’s autism — a life changed — were preventable? There literally needs no more to be said.
Researchers listed 10 chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected to contribute to autism and learning disabilities. Here they are:
1. Lead: Contained in ,many products, including chalk, crayons, toys, candles, incense and pacifiers
2. Methylmercury: Contained in fresh water, salt water and the fish we eat from there
3. PCBs: Found in florescent lighting, electrical wires, meat, and fish
4. Organophosphate pesticides: Insecticides
5. Organochlorine pesticides: Pesticides like DDT
6. Endocrine disruptors: Found in a range of places, including insecticides, herbicides, fumigants and fungicides
7. Automotive exhaust: Found on all of our roads
8. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: An airborne pollutant, also found in meat cooked at certain temperatures and smoked fish
9. Brominated flame retardants: Added to products to reduce fire-related injury and property damage
10. Perfluorinated compounds: Contained in “Teflon” and grease-resistant food packaging
We have long known that toxic elements in our society contribute significantly to health problems. We’ve come a long way in reducing our collective exposure, but we still have a long way to go.