home
RSS
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 (2,292 Responses)
  1. JebgEncox

    trustworthy online pharmacy Levaquin Isoptin SR

    May 24, 2021 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Rayford Nasti

    How do I switch some blog posts from one of my blogs, onto a different blog. Both on Blogger?

    https://twitter.com/katekdesigns

    May 24, 2021 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. LbsoZisse

    top sale viagracialis http://ucialisdas.com/ cialis uk

    May 24, 2021 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. motorhome repair

    Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this blog.

    https://marianvarga.sk/scripts/redirect.php?https://www.drginaloudon.com/2010/11/tea-party-president-in-2012/

    May 24, 2021 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. combigan

    combigan generic combigan eye drops 2%

    May 24, 2021 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. fiberglass near me

    /

    May 24, 2021 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Tritreviewifind

    where to order tadalafil tablets https://cttadalafil.com/ – buy cialis tadalafil side effects tadalafil cost in canada https://tadagatadalafil.com/

    May 24, 2021 at 23:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. LebnEncox

    best drugstore mascara http://xlnpharmacy.com/ online pharmacy store

    May 24, 2021 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Used Forklift Rental California

    https://account.vfw.org/Authenticate.aspx?ReturnUrl=https://forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/pasadena-forklifts

    May 24, 2021 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Forklift Dealer Near Me

    Very good post. I am dealing with many of these issues as well..

    https://slack-redir.net/link?url=http://forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/el-monte-forklifts

    May 24, 2021 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Forklift Repair Shop Orange County

    I used to be able to find good info from your articles.

    https://dealers.webasto.com/UnauthorizedAccess.aspx?Result=denied&Url=https://forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/johnston-forklift-repair-orange-county-california

    May 25, 2021 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Forklift For Sale California

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I found this in my hunt for something concerning this.

    https://www.stenaline.co.uk/affiliate_redirect.aspx?affiliate=tradedoubler&url=https://forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/kalmar-forklift-repair-orange-county-california/

    May 25, 2021 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Unitmerienepeft

    https://tadagatadalafil.com/ tadalafil daily online https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ – where to buy tadalafil on line generic cialis online fast shipping

    May 25, 2021 at 02:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Forklift Maintenance Los Angeles

    http://balder.messe.de/werbung/www/delivery/ck.php?ct=1&oaparams=2__bannerid=1512__zoneid=697__cb=18dc65fbad__oadest=https://forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/case-forklift-repair-orange-county-california

    May 25, 2021 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Forklift Repair Shop Near Me

    http://emails.erieinsurance.com/ern40/c2.php?ERIN/37662445/139490/H/N/V/https://forkliftswildwestlifttrucks.com/moreno-valley-forklifts/

    May 25, 2021 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Zisseloh

    generic cialisis https://rcialisgl.com/ – does medicare pay for cialis why is cialis so expensive 2017

    May 25, 2021 at 08:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Internet Marketing Experts Near Me

    https://aro.lfv.se/ViewSwitcher/SwitchView?mobile=True&returnUrl=https://ppcpostfalls.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Content Marketing Agency

    Iím impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog thatís equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

    http://wad.ojooo.com/cks_preview.php?lang=en&url=http://quotenearme.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. SEO Marketing Firm

    Hello! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent information you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your site for more soon.

    http://lblawoffices.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Local Marketing Companies Near Me

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    http://allasiangals.com/cgi-bin/atx/out.cgi?id=44&tag=bottom2&trade=http://affordableranking.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Tritreviewifind

    cialis cost https://tadalafilol.com/ tadalafil daily online tadalafil cost walmart generic cialis tadalafil

    May 25, 2021 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Social Media Marketing Consultant

    There is certainly a great deal to know about this topic. I like all the points you made.

    http://mellowvirgins.com/cgi-bin/at3/out.cgi?id=401&tag=toplist&trade=http://affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. EncoxAni

    canada pharmacy residency https://pharmacyken.com/ – pharmacy online cheap canada pharmacy

    May 25, 2021 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. SEO Marketing Agencies

    https://parkcities.bubblelife.com/click/c3592/?url=http://affordableranking.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Social Media Marketing Consultants

    I enjoy looking through a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

    http://valuechainintegration.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Social Media Marketing Specialist Near Me

    https://www.thesamba.com/vw/bin/banner_click.php?https://www.affordableranking.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. SEO Marketing Consultant

    Hello there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

    http://www.demolalapaluza.ru/bitrix/redirect.php?goto=http://affordableranking.com

    May 25, 2021 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. trailer repair places near me

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thanks!

    https://autofans.joj.sk/api/rdr.php?key=Husqvarna+Ambassador&rdr=https://crossroadsbaitandtackle.com/board/board_topic/9053260/5500206.htm?page=2

    May 26, 2021 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. EncoxGtv

    walmart canada pharmacy order prescription drugs online without doctor pharmacy in canada toronto

    May 26, 2021 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. rv leak detection

    https://www.kultur-bad-vilbel.de/goto/?u=https://whyhui.com/post/9418.html/comment-page-19

    May 26, 2021 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil drug https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ – cialis without a prescription cialis tadalafil side effects of tadalafil https://cttadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. EncoxDev

    online pharmacy suboxone rite aid online pharmacy cheap drugs from canada

    May 26, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. rv collision repair

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I genuinely thought you would have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

    https://metalib.haifa.ac.il/pds?func=sso&calling_system=metalib&url=http://inspirehp.com/client-services-and-pricing/attachment/inspirehp-waiver-release-of-liability-updated-10-6-16

    May 26, 2021 at 08:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. rv blinds repair

    I love it whenever people come together and share ideas. Great blog, continue the good work!

    http://guozhenlai.com/link.php?url=bongdaplut.net/plus/profile.php?id=152395

    May 26, 2021 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. rv repair services

    I really like it when people get together and share opinions. Great blog, keep it up!

    http://sportadmin.se/SSO/?REF=https://ocrvcenter.org/motorhome-camera-repair-near-me

    May 26, 2021 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. repair rv shades

    https://www.aerolineas.com.ar/en-us/asppage/open?link=https://ocrv.life/rv-repair-shop-anaheim-california

    May 26, 2021 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. combigan

    combigan eye drops 2% buy brimonidine

    May 26, 2021 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil side effects https://tadalafilol.com/ – tadalafil liquid cialis at canadian pharmacy tadalafil without a doctor prescription tadalafil online with out prescription

    May 26, 2021 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Roof Mounted A/C Leak Repair On Sprinter Van

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    http://www.cnxz.cn/redirect.php?url=https://commercialrepairshop.com/sprinter-van-repair-shop-near-me-2

    May 26, 2021 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. rv window replacement near me

    I'm excited to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every little bit of it and i also have you book marked to check out new information in your site.

    http://ref.webhostinghub.com/scripts/click.php?ref_id=nichol54&desturl=https://ocrv.xyz/freightliner-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 27, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. oc collision center

    This is the perfect website for anyone who wishes to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that has been written about for many years. Great stuff, just great!

    http://directory.hawaiitribune-herald.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvandtrucks.com/rv-repair-shop-walnut-california

    May 27, 2021 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Unitmerienepeft

    side effects of tadalafil https://tadalafilww.com/ tadalafil blood pressure tadalafil online with out prescription tadalafil goodrx

    May 27, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rv slide repair

    https://www.anonym.to/?https://ocrv.rocks/motorhome-alignment-repair-near-me

    May 27, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. rv entertainment system upgrade

    https://www.hypercomments.com/api/go?url=https://ocrv.world/junk-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 27, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. camera repair california

    http://chtbl.com/track/118167/ocrvexperts.com/rv-repair-shop-diamond-bar-california

    May 27, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. rv repair

    http://chtbl.com/track/118167/ocrvshop.com/industrial-bus-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county

    May 27, 2021 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Kitchen Orange County

    I could not resist commenting. Very well written!

    https://www.worldcruising.com/extern.aspx?ctype=1&adid=89&pagid=0&src=https://ocrv.biz/playstar-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 27, 2021 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Remodeling California

    https://www.bestprice.gr/url?q=https://ocrvmotorcoaches.com/rv-repair-shop-lakewood-california

    May 27, 2021 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. EncoxHtf

    cialis online canada https://cialishav.com/ – buy cialis with paypal payment cialis and alcohol reddit

    May 27, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. EncoxGtv

    cheap canadian pharmacies pharmacy rx one coupon g and e pharmacy edmonton store hours

    May 27, 2021 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Leave a Reply to Ryan


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.