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Scientists warn of chemical-autism link
June 7th, 2011
06:43 PM ET

Scientists warn of chemical-autism link

Autism and environmental health experts called for greater scrutiny of chemicals found in the environment, which could potentially lead to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, in a conference call Tuesday.

"We live, breathe and start our families in the presence of toxic chemical mixtures and constant low-level toxic exposures, in stark contrast to the way chemicals are tested for safety," said Donna Ferullo, Director of Program Research at The Autism Society.

"Lead, mercury, and other neurotoxic chemicals have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe," she said.

Autism spectrum disorders are being diagnosed at unprecedented rates, partly because of improved diagnostic tools and criteria, but also a host of other factors including what mothers-to-be are exposed and consequently their unborn children too, said Irva Hertz-Piccotto, Chief of the Division of Environmental Health at the University of California, Davis, and a faculty member at the Mind Institute.

About 1 in 110 children in the United States has autism, a group of developmental disorders that lead to impairments in behavior, communication and socialization. The cost of autism is staggering: $3.2 million for the care of a person with autism throughout his or her life; behavioral therapy can be hard to come by and be very limited,  and most medications don't help much.

Studies have strongly suggested a genetic component in the cause of autism, but it's becoming clear that genetics alone isn't the whole story; there could be interactions between susceptibility genes and environmental chemicals.

Recent research from her group, appearing in the journal Epidemiology, showed that prenatal vitamins taken prior to conception seem to interact with certain metabolizing genes that are inherited.  Those women who did not take the vitamins, and had the high-risk genotypes, were more likely to have a child with autism.  Still, this was a small study limited in scope, and more research should be done to confirm these findings.

The central nervous system of the fetus is sensitive to a wide range of chemicals, Hertz-Piccotto said.  Hormones, such as estrogens and androgens, are essential for proper brain development. Endocrine-disrupting compounds need more research, she said. Flame-retardant chemicals called PBDEs interfere with the body's hormones.  Even though many of them are no longer used in manufacturing, they can hang around in the environment and the human body for a long time.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aware of concerns about these chemicals and is working on accessing substitutions (see the action plan).

Bisphenol A, present in plastic food packaging and water bottles, among other products, is another big concern, she said, because it could interfere with the body's natural estrogen system; antimicrobials added to soaps, toothpaste and other products can artificially enhance androgenic activity.

"That means that they could potentially play a role in autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders," Hertz-Piccotto said.

Moreover, many children with autism spectrum disorders have abnormal immune responses. The chemical messengers in the immune system interact with the receptors in the brain, so chemicals that affect immunity could also be implicated in autism.

Thyroid dysfunction is common in children with autism that psychiatrist Dr. Suruchi Chandra sees, even though that's not part of the classical symptoms of the condition.  She believes the abnormalities are due to the thyroid hormone disruptors such as BPA and flame retardants.

"Thyroid hormone is critical for brain development in early life, and even small alterations in hormone levels can have serious consequences; long-lasting and perhaps irreversible consequences in terms of brain function," she said.

Air pollution from traffic and certain pesticides have also been shown to have associations with autism, studies have shown.  Maternal conditions could partially result from chemicals in the environment.

Andy Igrejas, National Campaign Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, called for an update of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has proposed a stricter version that would require all industrial chemicals to be tested for safety.

UPDATE: Since so many of you have asked, I wanted to clarify that this discussion does not relate to vaccines. The scientific evidence available has shown again and again that vaccines do not cause autism.


soundoff (1,209 Responses)
  1. Brandon Rippeon

    I recently met a scientist from NIH who is a leader in studying autism. He stated there is no current known link between autism and mercury or any other metals / chemicals. He told me South Korea has the best data on this topic and autism has always been prevalent in society (statistically significant.) It is only now that it is being recognized for what it is. There has been a "slight" uptick in the number of cases, but society has always been populated with autistic individuals.

    June 8, 2011 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. T

    There is not a shred of science in this article, ...at all. It's a terrible lot of hearsay and unprovables.
    Science is actually not the enemy. Science will help us figure out how to reduce the incidence of autism. Big business may not want that, but science will do that. The statements in this story lead one to ask: if it is pollution causing problems with the Endocrine system (which is a very valid question to pursue) what studies are being done in highly polluted areas of the world, like India, Mexico city, NY , DC, - name one–there are so many. Where is the study of autism around the globe? It appears illogical that there are so many "research says" articles, when the research isn't really being done, and certainly not published for the general population. So I would ask: why aren't global studies of this issue being done and reported on? Same for a number of leading killers like breast cancer and other cancers. What does the world incidence map look like? Maybe it's hard to get the data in 3rd world countries, but it's not impossible. Maybe we won't like what we learn, if it turns out our modern society with traffic and plastic is actually killing us. How will we know until we have the studies and the data?
    Tamara

    June 8, 2011 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. hopelesslyhopeless

    Please allow me to sum this up:
    Hypothesis: exposure to chemicals contributes to the prevelance of autism.
    Materials and methods: none
    Results: none
    Discussion: we don't know anything yet

    CNN- please don't run stories on untested hypotheses

    June 8, 2011 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. NYCMovieFan

    New York State is finally running a TV ad campaign to highlight the deaths of young children who died of infectious diseases because they were NOT vaccinated. It is so very sad to see these needless deaths, due to misinformation and lies spread about vaccines. Go to any cemetary that's been open for 100 years, and look at all the headstones for young children in the early part of the last century, and notice that there are lots of children who died between 1900 and 1930, and then when vaccination became available, the number of child headstones get to be very few. But children have been dying again from preventable illness since the lies about vaccines started. Don't forget that the person responsible for the fake data has been disproved, and also exposed as working for attornies who paid for the lies. Get your children vaccinated, do not be stupid!!! Avoid needless tragedies!!!

    June 8, 2011 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. BGko

    I wonder if those chemtrails they are spraying over our heads every week from airplanes has anything to do with it. And I'm not talking about the contrail vapors, I mean the ones that dissipate really slowly and hang up there for hours.

    June 8, 2011 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. AnnieCee

    I've been concerned because it seems there are more autistic children all the time: apparently the statisics show I'm not wrong about that. And, just ask the long-term schoolteachers. I know a woman who just retired from a lifetime of teaching small children, the early grades. She says it's obvious that there's far more autistic children than there used to be, in fact when she first started teaching she never had such children but now there's one or more in every class and usually there's a whole smorgasbord of behavior disorders. It's her opinion, and mine, that Science needs to take a serious look at the causes. Because this has developed over 1 or 2 generations since the 1970's I don't think it's genetic. It must be environmental!! I think there should be quite a bit of cause for alarm. Any family that's had to deal with these disorders goes through a lot of heartache and hardship and lots of extra medical expenses; it's really a drain for families in many ways.

    June 8, 2011 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Rhonda

    I personally think that the harsh chemicals that we use to clean with are not healthy, and could be killing brain cells when we breathe them in. I love those products that kill viruses and H1N1, and even the products that have the scrubbing bubbles, but I don't think they are healthy to contact or breathe in, ever. When my daughter is pregnant, I always remind her not to use them, use the vinegar products instead. I am changing over to the natural vinegar cleaning products.

    June 8, 2011 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. AnnieCee

    I survived measles, chicken pox, german measles and mumps when I was a kid in the 1960s. I really think any of those is better than a lifetime with Autism or OCD. Maybe we've gone way overboard with all the vaccinations; maybe there are worse things than getting sick for a few days.

    I think I'd be reluctant to have my child get all the shots, there are too many stories about it. I heard about one bozo of a doctor who vaccinated a child for absolutely everything on one day, and the child was never the same after that.

    June 8, 2011 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. CC

    Gee. This revelation is a shocker. Duh.

    June 8, 2011 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Avoid it"? Avoid WHAT, you moron? Do you live in a bubble?

      June 9, 2011 at 07:22 | Report abuse |
  10. LKJ

    This article makes a great deal of sense to me. It has to do with chemical overload. We are all exposed to chemicals these days, and our childrens' exposure starts in the womb. Some can handle the chemicals more easily than others. I'm one of those who can't. My problems didn't start until I was nearly 40 because I was fortunate enough to be born before the great American obsession with chemicals was in place. But I feel bad for the children, whose small bodies and minds are often overwhelmed.

    June 8, 2011 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ken

      hmmmm...... lower the standards and change the diagnosis..... = increase of discovery..... what to do.... Blame the chemical boogeyman !!!!! I am getting tired of this PC world ! Pure science is NOT start with conclusion and work back to problem. Science should be devoid completely of any pre-suppostion and then ask "what do we really see". This forced cause and effect is putting us back into the dark ages. I am ashamed that politics and money (aka lawyers and lawsuits) are being used to drive science.

      June 9, 2011 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
    • ken

      how about people are complex beings, the universe offers NO warranties what-so-ever ! We are not all created equal ! get used to it !!!! The terrible fact no one wants to hear is not everybody is going to be born perfect. Of course there is something to be said about extremes and evnvironments but as a whole in the end there is only so much bull you can blame for a naturally occuring thing. The fact we are the stange intellegent species we are is the fact we are not all equal in makeup, if we were we would not have evolved into the tool-user, computer designers, sociecty builders we are today, we'd be still digging in the mud for bugs with our bare hands.

      June 9, 2011 at 01:37 | Report abuse |
    • Lizard

      You're quite correct; chemicals are the problem. The government should ban all chemicals, and no one should be exposed to chemicals of any sort. We should begin with dihydrogen monoxide, which has been found in the bloodstream of 100% of children born with autism (but you won't hear the corporate controlled mainstream media reporting on that!)

      June 9, 2011 at 06:25 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Very funny, Lizard. The point will fly right over the heads of most people here.

      June 9, 2011 at 07:00 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      People are so gullible. On the one hand, they automatically believe it when they're told trace chemicals cause autism, (shades of Jenny McCarthy and the all the vaccine B.S.). On the other, they gulp unproven and possibly dangerous quack medicine supplements to the tune of $50 billion a year. Sheep.

      June 9, 2011 at 07:04 | Report abuse |
  11. nasa

    >because of improved diagnostic tools and criteria

    Where is Abel, your brother?

    Where are autistic grown-ups (1 in 100)?

    What happened to them?

    June 9, 2011 at 00:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Heather Lunsford

      Oh they are around, ask my cousin who has to be taken care of for the rest of his life...

      June 9, 2011 at 01:11 | Report abuse |
    • nasa

      Heather Lunsford

      1 in 100?

      June 9, 2011 at 01:33 | Report abuse |
    • xlntcat

      Whereas there can be no doubt that Autism is being drastically over diagnosed,(a phone survey in which 40% claim to have a child who once had a diagnosis of Autism but whom is now cured? is a faulty survey) you pose what could become a national crisis of Autistic adults who are unable to work and live independently that our society is not prepared to care for.

      June 9, 2011 at 03:50 | Report abuse |
    • Rylee

      i am one of those autistic adults: aged 55. Not fully diagnosed until a few years ago, i slipped through the cracks in our mental health system, never able to handle social interactions in work situations, or to handle more complex organisational systems. I did a lot of (mediocre) temp work, lost a lot of jobs, quit some when i thought i was going to get fired, etc. Now, i'm becoming a much more functional adult, finally, and though i'm on disability, i'm giving back to the community in meaningful ways as i am able.

      June 18, 2011 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
  12. jim

    More children are being diagnosed because of better tools or broadened definitions that include every shy child in the world or because the parent insists that there is something wrong with their child and wants to doctor to confirm it? Take your pick.

    June 9, 2011 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bryan

      Autism is not a subtle affliction. Sixty seconds with an autistic child and any layman can tell something is not right. You don't need sophisticated diagnostic tools to identify autistic behaviors.

      June 9, 2011 at 02:13 | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      That is not true. I have a child with Autism, Apraxia, and Epilepsy. While there is no doubt that a non-verbal child with seizures has a neurological defect (you can't argue with an EEG, severe developmental defects and physical exams, yes physical exams that include hyperextensive joints, macrocrania, sacral cleft, and several other physical markers of a developmental disorder) he was still difficult to diagnose because he makes eyecontact when he chooses too and he has a beautiful social smile. My youngest child spends a good deal of her time toe walking and hand flapping, screeching and sorting things and has a lot of sensory defensiveness but will probably never be diagnosed with Autism. She may one day, if she does not out grow these traits, be diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder because these things are clearly not in the norm, but so long as they do not interfere with her development they are only quirks and any decent developmental specialist will tell you the same thing. My oldest is socially awkward, impulsive, hyperactive, brilliant, has sensory defensiveness, and a host of other Asperger's signs, but because none of this interferes with her ability to function she is considered gifted not disabled. It is only Autism if it interferes with function. That is the key. It has to be a deficit in function. Even when there are significant deficits in function children are often not diagnosed. I have seen (as parents in the autism community see far more families facing autism or suspected autism than those who are not) many parents of children who were clearly on the high functioning side be told that there children would not be given a clear diagnoses unless they were still having significant problems when they reached a certain age and the child was said to have developmental delays so that they could receive services until then because the doctors wanted the children to have the chance to "fall off of the spectrum" before being labeled. Some children are incorrectly diagnosed, just ass sometimes someone is given a diagnoses of cancer, kidney failure and diabetes and the doctor was mistaken, but just as those are rare so is a mistaken autism diagnosis. I suggest that those who have not raised an autistic child keep their two cents in their pocket where it belongs.

      June 9, 2011 at 06:58 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Holy ignoramus, batman.

      June 9, 2011 at 07:20 | Report abuse |
    • Rylee

      Brian, Autism can be a subtle affliction, when it's Asperger's (on the high end of the Autistic Spectrum) and especially for women with Asperger's Syndrome. See writings by Dr. Tony Atwood.

      June 18, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • Rylee

      Kelly, please consider taking your daughter to a different specialist: girls with Asperger's don't present like boys with Asperger's. My clinical psychologist, as well as the personnel at the Autism Center where i'm now a part of a study on aging adults with Autism, have told me this: "Neurotypical children and adults don't EVER exhibit these kinds of signs (unless she might be copying her brother). In addition, if she is having marginal difficulties with social interaction now, just keep a close eye on her, because in my situation (as is true for many Aspergian females) when i and my peers hit puberty, the situation escalated dramatically. I suddenly found my peers to be completely alien to me at that point. Support sevices are available that can help kids with that process. Not all boys even present with the so-called "classic Asperger's" symptoms. There's a saying in the AS community: "If you've met one person with Asperger's, you've met one person with Asperger's".

      June 20, 2011 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
  13. Irene

    Should I stop using creams for my skin? So scared of aging, I'm not married yet.

    June 9, 2011 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • amanda

      stop using artificial creams on your skin, there are natural alternatives that work just as good

      June 9, 2011 at 00:52 | Report abuse |
    • Kingofthenet

      Too Late, You ARE going to have a retarded Baby!

      June 9, 2011 at 02:54 | Report abuse |
    • Lesley

      Kingofthenet, does your brain really lack such creativity that the only thing you wretched mouth could spew was undoubtedly ridden with ignorance?

      June 9, 2011 at 04:09 | Report abuse |
  14. kiki

    Welcome to our WIRELESS WORLD!!!
    The proliferation of cell phones and other wireless gadgets have increased the amount of radio waves we're exposed to everyday. Autism rates have surged right along with the number of mobile devices that surround us.

    June 9, 2011 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Miriam Hamsa

      And add pregnant women getting 10 sonargrams to that, plus the toxic stew in the environment, gmo's, rbst in the milk....

      June 9, 2011 at 02:01 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      I agree and add to that the fact that everyone slathers anti-bacterials all over themselves. Didn't anyone pay attention in science class when they said you need to be exposed to germ to be able to build an immunity to them???

      June 9, 2011 at 03:11 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Why are people so quick to blame radio waves for various things? Animal testing of radio waves has shown that the primary effect is the potential for thermal connective tissue damage in tissues with poor circulation, primarily having the capability to cause cataracts. And that is only with very high exposure.

      Meanwhile, animal testing of various chemicals clearly demonstrates that chemistry has the ability to do all sorts of nasty things to life forms. That's not even a question at this point, rather it's a question of which chemicals cause which effects at what dosage.

      June 9, 2011 at 07:57 | Report abuse |
  15. Dan

    This article is a travesty, full of allegations and half-baked theories and no proof. It feeds the modern Green paranoia that modern life is somehow secretly poisoning us all, even though by any measure we live longer and healthier lives than our ancestors. We have come full circle as a civilization: we once again believe the gods of the earth are offended by our unnatural acts and require sacrifice to be appeased. We use different terms but the underlying mentality is no different.

    June 9, 2011 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. keri k

    Really??? Like we didn't ALL know this already. It's easy to see.

    June 9, 2011 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Dave

    I was fine reading your article until you brought immunizations into it with your update. I agree immunizations do not CAUSE autism, they are the TRIGGER. Genetic factors plus irresponsible doctors who immunize with numerous chemicals at too young of an age and frequency for baby's bodies to cope with cause autism. I see it as a person with a gun. the gun doesn't kill, the person doesn't kill, but put the two together, and bad things can happen. As the father of an autistic son, when you see your child MENTALLY REGRESS after having immunizations, then the observed result is that immunizations have a major factor in the high number of autistic children today

    June 9, 2011 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pete

      Dave, I'm very sorry that your son has autism, but you have to understand that vaccines have nothing to do with it. Hundreds of thousands of children get vaccinated, and it's natural that a large percentage of these will get a cold around the time of their vaccination, and some of them will fall and get a cut on their knee around the time of their vaccination, and some of them will develop cancer and some will develop pneumonia. That's just a consequence of the very large number of people getting vaccines – it doesn't mean that there's a direct connection. You can't take an N of 1 (i.e. your son) and extrapolate that to the entire population. Vaccines are hugely effective and important public health interventions. Without them we see outbreaks of diseases like measles and mumps that cause deafness, meningitis and even death.

      June 9, 2011 at 01:46 | Report abuse |
    • Amber

      I agree with you Dave. They keep feeding us the logic that immunizations don't cause autism, but your points are well taken. For me, with an Asperger child and the research I've done...you need only follow the money. Whomever is funding the research will sway the outcome to their favor. It happens time and again. One cannot trust the govt or those sponsoring research in this area. You will never get a fair assessment because there is lots of money to be lost.

      June 9, 2011 at 05:50 | Report abuse |
  18. Mary Cavanaugh

    I suggest all of you go to the website http://www.thinktwice.com You will read story after story of what happened to many many children after receiving a vaccine. Does this happen to all children? Of course not. But the fact that it is now happening to 1 out of 66 boys should be a concern to all. If you include the girls it is 1 out of 100. Why don't we start asking ourselves why many children can no longer learn in school? We can all go to this website and order a book that will give up the history of the vaccines as well as the ingredients. To this day the flu shot and the H1n1 has 25mcg. of mercury each. Why did my insurance company allow me to win my case when I showed them the compiled research concerning the brain trauma the vaccines caused my daughter?

    June 9, 2011 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PROVE supporter

      I had a child that died because of the fact that he was given vaccines, and when they autopsy was done they found so much mercury in him to kill a full grown elephant. So I understand where you are coming from. Themerisol has been changed to so many names it is pathetic.

      June 9, 2011 at 01:27 | Report abuse |
    • Amber

      I'm so glad we haven't gotten the h1n1 vaccine. This govt is so corrupt and they can't possibly have done all the fact finding before suggesting mightily through fear tactics that we should all get immunized. It all happened too fast. Those of us in the "know" know that this govt wants to trim its population considerably because we're getting to expensive. Vaccines are a perfect way to introduce agents into our systems that can wreck havoc so that the eventual Obamacare can deny treatment through rationing. Pathetic and worth fighting to the very end. Obamacare must be repealed in its entirety.

      June 9, 2011 at 06:08 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You can find videos of cats playing the Moonlight Sonata on the internet, too. Do you think that means they actually do?

      Moron.

      June 9, 2011 at 07:26 | Report abuse |
  19. Anon

    Ok, for one thing:

    Thermiosal, the 'big cause' that a lof of anti-vaxxers point to, has been tested over and over to be completely safe and not a cause for autism, even at 100x the dosage used for vaccinations. Which is moot, since they replaced it in 2006.

    "Doing your own research" is fine, unless you refuse to listen to the research of people who actually studied and tested the controversial data and found it to be bunk. They have spent years of their lives on this subject and have chased it's spectres across continents. Yet they are not as smart as you, because you read a 10-minute rant by a former playboy bunny? Come on.

    Also, not choosing to vaccinate only allows a virus a whole new playground to grow, infect, and most importantly adapt. It makes that virus stronger and more resistant to standard methods of protection, and therefor puts all the children around your child at risk. By not acting, you are acting. Apathy, or disregard, is death.

    Please, I implore you. Look past your narrow worldviews and educate yourselves. Learn about the scandals, the gossip, and the science done to combat the spread of fear and misinformation. And, before you tell me it's a plot to give corporations more money, ask yourself one thing:

    Jenny McCarthy makes millions a year that she keeps to herself. Nothing spent on research or development into proventions or understanding ASD. Just herself. Now who, in this scenario, is greedy?

    June 9, 2011 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ocean Pearl

      Anon, I was with you almost until the end, but how can you can infer someone else is ignorant for speaking without authority and in the next breath lambaste Jenny Mc for not donating to research when you know full well you have no insight into her personal donations. She's paid her dues by taking an inhumane amount of burden as mother of an autistic child and contributed to meaningful dialog. What about you?

      June 9, 2011 at 03:27 | Report abuse |
    • Hawaiian Eye

      The Themeresol issue is not moot especially if your child was affected before it was pulled from the market, or had its brand name changed. A Congressional Hearing was held and recoreded by C-Span and the record shows there was no research on the mercury based product since before WWII. Mercury is bad for anybody. Some show effects soem do not. My daughter regressed after 18 months and stopped speaking amoung other things after her 18 Month MMR Themerosol vaccination. Why is the Vaccine Court paying off families in the millions to go away? Why are legit researcher like the three in england dis-fellowshipped and stripped of their credentials when they publish findings damming to the vaccines? Because the companies stand to loose billions in suits and recalls. MBAs and Lawyers protect the manufacturers. Greed is the reason. We are considered reasonable and acceptable losses.

      June 9, 2011 at 05:05 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahahah,

      Oh.

      Wait, were you serious?

      I was confused by your illiteracy.

      June 9, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse |
  20. Fred

    The autism rate in the early 1900's was 1 in 15,000. Today it is around 1 in 120. Over 99% of autism cases are environmentally induced, not genetic. The symptoms of mercury toxicity mimic those of autism if any of you actually read a medical textbook. But you sheep will keep your mouths shut and every time someone mentions mercury you'll accuse them of being some crazy conspiracy theorist.

    June 9, 2011 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Werz

      Autism wasn't even a diagnosis in the early 1900s, and by virtue of that fact, I'm surprised they had a tally at all. Where did you read that nonsense?

      Plus, mercury toxicity causes neurological impairment; autism is a neurological disorder. There are many neuro problems with similar symptoms: this does not make them in any way related with one another. This mercury/autism garbage is what spurred people to give their children dangerous chelating agents. It needs to stop.

      Science will find the cause eventually.

      June 9, 2011 at 03:14 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Actually there are a few books on the topic written by Andrew Hall Cutler. A PhD chemist who himself got sick with mercury toxicity and cured himself and then wrote two books on the topic. Inappropriate chelation- just like inappropriate use of any drug- is very dangerous. Proper chelation is actually quite safe and actually gets people(including autistic kids) better. Read Andy Cutler's books and educate yourself on the subject before assuming that because some quackjob prescribed chelating agents inappropriately means that all chelation is dangerous. It is not.

      June 9, 2011 at 03:22 | Report abuse |
  21. Sandy

    There is formaldehyde in vaccinations also.. who would give their child that?

    June 9, 2011 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lesley

      Do you give your child anything sugary that may contain aspartame? If you do, you're giving them formaldyhyde. 10% or so of aspartame is methanol. When ingested, the body immediately breaks it down into formaldyhyde.

      June 9, 2011 at 03:42 | Report abuse |
  22. amanda

    i cringe when i see the products people buy and use for their babies like the popular jnsons baby lotion and tear free shampoos and all the others like it. i know that stuff is toxic, the natural alternatives can at times cost more but it is worth not risking it.

    June 9, 2011 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lynn

      unfortunately not everyone has the access to education, products, and resources (aka money). If you are wealthy and have the internet, you have no excuse however...

      June 10, 2011 at 06:22 | Report abuse |
  23. Angie

    I shiver every time I see a baby being fed food from a plastic baby food jar. For the sake of your baby don't do this!!.

    Polymers are not pure chemicals. I recall years ago that a catalyst used in a polymer that a big company in Louisiana made was found to react with chlorine used to make the polymer. And form a very toxic chemical byproduct. Residues of this chemical remained in the polymer. And it was used in food packaging. Not to mention that most of it was dumped into the Mississippi river.

    Plastic food packaging is one of the key culprits. Now some restaurants cook food in plastic bags. This should be banned.

    June 9, 2011 at 00:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Jeff

    My 39 year old brother has autism. It was due to a severe cold he developed at three years of age. And he is as smart as can be. Big sci-fi nut, loves cars (and he'll never be able to drive), and has been on his dream-trip (to Australia). I wouldn't trade him for anything.

    June 9, 2011 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • noel

      I have a son with Autism. My son had a high fever when he was 3 years old and he's now 16. Doctors said that it has nothing to do with his Autism but I recall that he changed overnight after that fever.
      God Bless you

      June 9, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
  25. anna

    Gut and Psychology Syndrome or GAPS Diet is the cure for autism, among many other mental disorder along with allergies... http://www.gapsdiet.com

    June 9, 2011 at 01:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Marc

    The consumer market has been soft-killing us all for years with chemicals. fact.

    June 9, 2011 at 01:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. CW

    So if vaccines are causing autism, and vaccination levels have dropped, why are autism rates going up? Gee, you would think logic would dictate that something else that we're putting more and more of into our bodies would be causing it...can you say toxic chemicals that are in virtually every product we use?

    June 9, 2011 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Wendy

    If you are pregnant or are thinking of getting pregnant, please read the section on Vitamin D (deficiency) and Autism found at http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/neurological-conditions/autism

    June 9, 2011 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. cg

    When will we wake up and realize the Damage we do to a developing brain with Ultrasound-do some research.

    June 9, 2011 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Miriam Hamsa

      I contacted an autism researcher with this suggestion, and she ignored me. Oh well.

      June 9, 2011 at 02:04 | Report abuse |
  30. Joe

    most of this is lawyers trying to set themselves up... for future...business.....................

    June 9, 2011 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. dixie

    my son is autistic, his speech is on a 2 year old level because he has only been talking that long, (he is 10) most of the autistic traits he had when he was younger are gone, he still flapps his hands when he is excited, he still has ocd on some things but not as bad now, and i still have him vaccinated, why would i put him at risk for something that could kill him? did you know you can have vaccines separated like the mmr shot? but you have to request this, if my son is due two or three shots at a time, he gets one, and then two weeks later he gets another one. you dont have to have them all done at once. we will never know what causes autisim, just like we will never know what causes child cancers, this week it is chemicals, next week it could be tomatoes or formula, who knows they could say its something in breast milk, if your child is autistic.. accept it, get whatever help they need whether it be physical or other type of therapies, but dont let it control your life. dont keep asking why start saying "ok, where do we go from here"

    June 9, 2011 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dixie

      oh and the diets everyone talks about, they dont always work.

      June 9, 2011 at 02:03 | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      I disagree that we will never know. 100 years ago, people did not know that germs cause illness. Now we know. Science advances.

      June 9, 2011 at 02:38 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Dixie, you are the first parent of an autistic child that has made any sense. I'm sure that your child has flourished because of your care & common sense. I truly wish you all the best.

      June 9, 2011 at 03:20 | Report abuse |
  32. Jahman

    CDC Vaccine Researcher Charged with Wire Fraud, Money Laundering and Stealing Grant Money

    Dr. Poul Thorsen is most widely known for a 2003 study known as the "Danish Study," which reported there was a 20-fold increase in autism in Denmark after mercury-based preservatives like thimerosal were banned from vaccines. The research team therefore concluded that mercury-containing vaccines were safe.

    June 9, 2011 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Karen

    My 25 year old brother is severely autistic- as a child and teen, he literally ate all the wood windowsills and stair banisters in our parents house, he just chewed and gnawed things to stubs. He lives in a nursing home facility now, probably will until my kids are grown and I can give him the care he needs at my house. I worry though because I don't know the life expectancy for people with autism, what I've read indicates a normal lifespan.

    I am concerned about a friend's son- I don't agree with a lot of the diagnosing for kids today, much like ADD or ADHD some people can't accept that's how kids are (I personally think you shouldn't take adderral until you're an adult- kids should act like kids, adults shouldn't), so they label them as autistic. I've known two children who were misdiagnosed as autistic, which is ridiculous. But my friend's son- he seems normal, until you realise he has a terrible sensitivity to light and sound, with unnaturally bright blue eyes- he's the only one in his family, for the last three generations on both sides, to even have blue eyes, and they are shockingly bright. Apart from the sensitivities, he's shown extremely violent behaviour with motions like an adult streetfighter, no joke. I know kids fight, but witnessing his aggression really freaked me out- lashing out and hitting anything that doesn't hurt to hit (like walls), kicking toys, bottles, anything really. After chest kicking my little girl to the ground, he swooped down and started punching her. I moved as fast as I could but he moves too fast for a young boy- 20 feet away from a playground bench, I would never think something like that could happen. It was insane, and I won't bring my children around him again.

    My point in saying that is because he's quite normal otherwise- a typical kid, not a savant with wild intelligence but still smart. His parents deny that he has a problem apart from his behaviour, but I think it has a lot to do with those sensitivities- I think there's a hardwiring issue there, and I believe it has a lot to do with human genetics adapting to our environment. Good grief, I listened to an NPR short recently about US diet recommendations 60 years ago- IE, 100 calorie suggestions to help people gain weight as opposed to today's demands for weight loss. It's just a different world today than it was for a long time, and there are a lot of genetic glitches now in response to that. Add in social factors and it's hard to determine something for what it is.

    June 9, 2011 at 02:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Anna

    The scientists say vaccines don't cause autism, and they analyzed the vaccine-autism link in term of whether mercury additives in the vaccines could have caused it. Now they are saying that mercury could be one environmental factor to cause autism. Frankly, I never thought mercury additives were the problem, especially since most vaccines stopped containing them while autism continued to rise. But, I do not accept that vaccines have nothing to do with it. Vaccines act on the immune system. They introduce a foreign substance into the body in an effort to force the immune system to develop protection against certain diseases. The number of vaccines given to babies has more than tripled at the same time autism rates have spiked. I cannot imagine that such a repeated assault on a developing immune system can be that good. Add other environmental factors into the mix like plastics, and we have a huge problem.

    June 9, 2011 at 02:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Shannon

    My son was dignosed with autism a few days ago! The doctor told me there are different levels of autism! I noticed that he was doing wierd things but autism never crossed my mind! My son is 3 years old and very smart but he do struggle with some things! The doctor didnt give me any info on autism at all so im doing the research on my own! When my son was born he never smiled, he dont play with other kids, he dont eat at all I have to force him to eat if I dont he wont eat at all and he stars at stuff for a long time and if he has something in a curtain spot it cannot be moved unless he moves it if someone else moves it he just go off screaming and crying! I dont know if anyone else's child is like this but my son does not see well! No one in my family have autism and I dont believe that the vaccines shots causes autism if that was true wouldnt half of the world have autism too? And did you also know that warming a plastic baby bottle in the microwave sends a chemical into the babies milk so look that up too!

    June 9, 2011 at 02:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • common sense

      Maybe you should have asked your doctor for information instead of just walking out like a goober...

      June 9, 2011 at 03:55 | Report abuse |
    • joegrane

      Shannon, I'm sorry to hear about your son. The good news is that science has gotten much better over the past decade at understanding the effects of heavy metals, esp mercury on the body's detox systems. Once those systems are damaged, a person does not effectively get rid of a wide variety of toxins. If you go to Yahoo groups–Frequent Dose Chelation group, I'll provide you with a list of links to papers by Dr Boyd Haley, Dr Amy Holmes and Dr Andrew Cutler on the related chemistry. The health of our group members is improving, including Amy's son and myself.

      June 9, 2011 at 09:39 | Report abuse |
  36. Jenny McCarthy

    I still matter...to people who follow the advice of celebs over HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS.

    June 9, 2011 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Sash

    Tired of all of this fear mongering regarding autism. It does not cost 3.2 million of taxpayer dollars for someone with autism considering autism is a spectrum and people with autism struggle to even have these so called benefits and help. If you are autistic but your IQ isn't below 70, you are turned down.

    Please quit enticing more bullying on autistics through fear.

    June 9, 2011 at 02:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Jahman

    April 28 "CDC vaccine scientist who downplayed links to autism indicted by DOJ in alleged fraud scheme"
    Dang that sounds like shaky science supporting all those 'do gooder' naysayer know-nothing morons who don't live 24/7 with autism.
    Immunization delivery and technology has changed little in 215 years, other than vastly increasing numbers of vaccines, mandated by law to ever younger children.
    We had better get our heads out of this delusional state of denial, we have a major problem.
    Either big money or politics seem to be playing a role in us remaining in our uneducated and emotional bias.

    June 9, 2011 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Dave H

    "Lead, mercury, and other neurotoxic chemicals have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe," she said."

    BUT it is ok to mercury in kid's vaccines?

    June 9, 2011 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alex

      Gotta love the governmental health agencies. The second most dangerous element on planet earth was put into your kids at a massive overdose every time they got a shot. But it's safe in the vaccines because they told the vaccines not to hurt anyone.

      /sarcasm

      June 9, 2011 at 03:27 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Alex, please go look up ethyl mercury and methyl mercury. Learn something. You are simply wrong and your posts are an embarrassment.

      June 9, 2011 at 07:29 | Report abuse |
  40. Laura

    I teach in a public California school district South of Sacramento, and as of the start of the 2011-2012 school year all students must have received their TDAP immunization before they are allowed in the classroom, no joke. Parents do not have a choice wether or not to immunized their child.

    June 9, 2011 at 03:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lesley

      That's the area I'm from. And you're right, your child has to be administered the TDAP now.

      June 9, 2011 at 06:19 | Report abuse |
  41. Petrus

    oh here we go again with the pseudoscience

    June 9, 2011 at 04:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Dad

    I immunize my child, but am very weary whether the CDC works to protect the interests of our children over the interests of the large drug companies. A similar situation is playing out in the USDA with meat production. These government agencies once had teeth, but are now being controlled by the very companies they had been trusted to scrutinize. It's all very troubling. Too much dishonesty has led our country to distrust the motives of the government. Big, big mess............

    June 9, 2011 at 04:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. David55

    what i got out of this is that it takes 3.2 million dollars to keep an autistic person alive. Good lord. Can we test for autism and abort those babies?

    June 9, 2011 at 04:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Iwanttolive

    We have become a vitamin D deficient nation. We protect ourselves from sunlight exposure daily by staying indoors and wearing CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS (google the active ingrediant in your sunscreen and you'll never wear it again). The recent surge in autoimmune diseases correlates directly to our "health care professional's" advice to stay out of the sun. The daily recommended amount of vitamin D is 200-400. 20 minutes in the sun produces 10,000 iu. Did God get it wrong when he created us to live in the sun? If you have an autistic child, I encourage you to read more at the vitamindcouncil.org web site. Quite enlightening.

    June 9, 2011 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Michael

    All industrial chemicals are not tested for safety, there might be a chemical link to the Autism spectrum (no revelation).
    There's not much more to say other than that the AMA and the FDA are a disgrace and a joke.

    What an insane, communist, PC, plot to destroy 'Merica- testing the safety of industrial chemicals.

    June 9, 2011 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. katie

    Toxic chemicals in our environment, NO......... There's nothing like that polluting our world.. Never has and never will....

    Really... It's only going to get worse, so get used to the retards...

    June 9, 2011 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. sam

    Why not start with THC?

    June 9, 2011 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. PAPilot

    Autism is just another one of those imagined illnesses invented by helicopter soccer moms to have one more thing to get hysterical over, and to explain the fact that they are poor parents who have no idea how to raise well-behaved children.

    The whole thing is pathetic.

    June 9, 2011 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laureth

      Speaking as a mom to a child with Aspergers as well as an aunt to a child with Aspergers, you're a flipping moron!

      June 9, 2011 at 06:55 | Report abuse |
  49. brian

    Folks you have to wake up.. If you do a little research and see who controls the food in this country. Farmers? No Chemical Corporations do. Ever heard of Mansanto? Yeah they are the company that makes round up weed killer. They have genicaly modified most of the crop in the country and actually hold patents on the seeds. Once their seeds cross polinate with other seeds they then charge farmers royalties because farmers crop no contain the monsanto genicaly modified patent. Oh and guess what you can't stop the cross polinating. Ever heard of wind? Here is a little piece of an articel...Monsanto planned to force farmers and seed companies to migrate to a successor product called Roundup Ready 2 Yield, which will remain under patent and is more expensive."Because farmers and seed companies would no longer have to pay royalties to Monsanto on the gene after 2014, Roundup Ready soybeans would become agricultural biotechnology’s equivalent of a generic drug.
    Keep in mind almost all seed you buy at the store are owend by this chemiacl company. "burpie" which is the only seed sold at lowes,home,depot,walmar,kmart.
    Your kinda forced to but thier product

    Now you may ask why does the USDA allow a chemical to modify and patent the food? Easy...because 7 former excutives are former Mansanto employees. Clarence Thomas (supreem court) if former lead council for Monsanto. and 5 fomer employees work for FDA.
    Also Monsanto who sued thousands of farmers also made the largest donation to the Attorney generals office..

    June 9, 2011 at 06:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Johnny Five

    Vaccines DO cause autism. There are toxic elements and metals in them, thus the root cause the author states in their article. It is not honerable to make blanket statements such as this article and not state WHO the author is. DeCoy article IMO.

    June 9, 2011 at 06:50 | Report abuse | Reply
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