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. Frank

    Like the unwarranted vaccine scare before it, this is an unhelpful, and potentially hurtful, article. It is meaningless to rattle off all of the "maybes" as if any of them have a basis in science to be actually tied to autism. Thousands of parents were given absolutely false hope that a cause for their children's condition was "found" in vaccine preservatives through hysterical and self-interested propaganda, only to discover that discredited, litigation-poisoned "experts" were driving the vaccine wagon. IT was flase, plain and simple, and they hoped to profit by generating litigation that would pay their fees. Now we have this kind of broad-brush treatment of every chemical as a potential cause – nonsense! Have you heard anything as inane as Sen. Lautenberg's proposal to "test all chemicals"??? You might as well say "test the world". And test for what? Our entire experience with toxicity shows that the variable are almost infinite. A chemical exposure, in terms of both dosage and time, may kill one type of organism and not bother another. You cannot just "test"; you need to determine what you are testing for, under what environmental and exposure variables. I truly wish the answers were easier; I wish some government agency or miracle drig manufacturer would announce a cure; but I doubt that will ever happen. Incrementally, we will slowly learn bits and pieces, and develop a strategy for dealing with it. But I will not be misled by huckster again; I will not have my hopes raised by junk science, and then crashed when someone takes the time to do what should have been doen in the first place – careful, professional, science.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Kaybtt

    Hummmm...another attempt to divert the public from discovering the truth about the three-in-one vaccines. No one is saying not to vaccinate a child; however, there is no need to have multiple shots given at one time just for convenience. Go back to the old way of spacing these shots out over a certain period of time. An autism rate of 1 out of 110 is astronomical!! Give shots the old fashioned way - verify the autism rates before the three-in-ones and the rates after the three-in-one began. Only by stopping the three-in-ones and checking the autism rate in one to two years will the truth about the vaccines be known. Until then, its about flawed and misleading studies.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Tony

    why are cancer rates so much higher? our environment is poisoned and it has an affect on our well being.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Krissy

    How about this...more and more women are waiting until they are in their late 30s and early 40s to start their families. We had our first child at 26 and then another at 30. Most of the women I work with are just starting families and they are 40 years old. Nothing wrong with waiting that is fine, but you are putting your child at risk and your doctor will tell you that the chances for autism and downs syndrome are greater when you have children at this age. Did anyone factor that into our problem in the states?

    June 8, 2011 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mplo

      Age doesn't have anything to do with a child's developing ASD or other neurological development disorders. It's something that just happens, and that's that.

      April 30, 2018 at 00:15 | Report abuse |
  5. MSfrom CA

    You can see in these comments that A LOT of parents are really upset at the idea that they may have "given" Autism to their kids, wither genetically or through some "mistake" they made. Parents should give themselves a break – a lot is outside our control. Whatever it turns out to be, it is probably an interaction of genetics and the environment.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Kevin

    We so desperately want a clear causal relationship for our actions and biological outcomes, especially if there's a big bad wolf to blame, that we are willing to believe anything that supports the concept.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Educated & Informed

    First, I want to say I am the father of a 3 1/2 year old son with autism and I believe autism is caused by a series of things. I do NOT think autism is caused solely by vaccines, but I think that certain vaccines can trigger autistic symptoms and effects. The scientific research is correct that no individual vaccine directly causes austism, but many children are more susceptible to adverse responses to vaccines because they are genetically or environmentally at a higher risk than others. Also, no scientific research has ever been conducted to test the connection of a series of events that can occur prior to vaccinations. For example, A child that had a tramatic birth already has immune system disadvantages which can lead to the body's inability to handle or accept the vaccines, and it doesn't help by throwing in the mix of environmental toxins and chemicals the child is exposed to. My father-in-law has been practicing medicine for over 30 years and has always referred to the scientific research (conducted by the pharmaceutical companies) when asked about a link between vaccines and austism–his tune has now changed that vaccines can help trigger autistic symptoms (not solely cause it) due to some children's systems that have an inability to handle the chemicals and metals in certain vaccines, especially if multiple shots are given in a single visit. Another fact is that pharmaceutical companies don't conduct studies of multiple vaccines administered in the same day to a child. Some children can handle multiple injections in a single day, but those that are more susceptible to an adverse reaction due to other environmental factors are at a higher risk. Based on each individual child's needs and how their body works, we can't continue to take the "one size fits all approach" with vaccinations. Again, I'm not anti-vaccine, but I prefer to be more cautious with how the vaccines are given to my other children, because my son did verbal and behavioral regression following certain vaccines–he had a tramatic birth (ECS), NICU with anti-biotics and formula for the first week of his life (which can knock down the natural immune system capabilities), and other environmental factors, not to mention his recent diagnosis of an underlying mitochondrial disorder which allows toxins, fats, and metals to conitnuosly attack the brain, leading to sensory processing issues. All I ask is before you speak out against any thought or opinion of others, please conduct the hundreds of hours of reading and research to fully understand (not just skim a few biased news articles), and try experiencing first-hand what many of us parents have gone through and deal with every day. My son is my hero, because he is a fighter and continues to get better with natural supplements that his body cannot produce (which it needs), and also through speech, occupational, and behavioral therapies. What comes so easy to most all of us (talking, understanding, communicating) is a daily battle for him...he keeps working harder and is getting better. The expenses are beyond what you can imagine and most aren't covered by insurance, but my son's health and recovery are worth it all.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chris

      i understand what your saying to a point.........if a child has a traumatic birth and has to go to the NICU are you not supposed to do all you can to get that child to live.......or do you REALLY wanna go the true natural route and let nature take its true course and say if the baby lives it lives if not that's nature??? plus hey don't give your kid a vaccine if you are afraid it MIGHT cause autism but hey if he/she gets pollio/measels/mumps/ etc when they get older and lose motor functions or serious hurt their way of life don't complain b/c you choose to not give'em a vaccine that would prohibit that!

      June 8, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse |
    • scottilmnc

      You're vaccine argument is unfounded and ridiculous. The doctor who performed these studies has already admitted he was bribed by companies to tell people that autism is linked to vaccines. I work with children on the spectrum everyday. I feel for you and your son's situation but vaccines had nothing to do with it. More research is needed but vaccines are not the reason for the problem. I'm curious to see though how this all plays out.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      SOUNDOFF-What natural supplements have you been giving your son if you dont mind me asking? I have a 7 year old son who has behavioral therapy everyday and like to ask others what has been working or helping them.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Research has actually shown that vaccines do not cause autism in any way. All the research that suggested that vaccines were related to autism were found to be have used faulty methodology and record keeping. Please do not continue to profess something as the gospel truth because at one point researchers thought they had discovered something new. Even your reason for believing vaccines have something to do with autism is faulty, just because your son regressed after having an immunization shot doesn't mean it was because of the immunization shot. Please understand, I hold no contempt for you and am grieved for the condition of your son, I only wish that people don't spread what they believe when it is in actuality not true.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
    • mkjp

      It seems to me that the main issue in effect here is that some babies are genetically more susceptible to things in their environment causing autism. So why are we not testing for that genetic trait? If that test can be done during a pregnancy, the mother can choose to avoid certain things, and later in that child's life the parents can work to avoid certain environmental risk factors. Although this might make people not have their children vaccinated, which becomes dangerous for everyone. However, I would feel better about things like vaccines being avoided if the parents knew their child was at risk to begin with, rather than assuming that a totally healthy child will somehow contract autism from a vaccine or a water bottle.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • TomFoolery

      Nothing like a good correlation-causation fallacy. Yep, a child was vaccinated, and that child is said to have autism. That clearly means that the vaccines must have caused the autism. Never mind the orders of magnitude of relative benefits that vaccinations have on the population, and the individual. Oh no, since there is autism, it MUST have been caused by that, controlled studies and evidence of a causal relationship be damned.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
    • Jasana

      I agree completely with you.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Please tell all of us the natural route you and your son have CHOSEN to take. I am very much interested and will pray for your family and son. People do no understand until they are in the situation with a child of THEIRS.

      Thank you for your opinion and input it is appreciated by the EDUCATED people.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
    • Marilyn Armstrong

      Thank you for your well written response. My son, who is now 24, also has autism. His symptoms became apparent after a series of vaccines in Early Childhood. I have always believed that they played a role in his condition. I have videotapes of him prior to the vaccines and after the vaccines and the difference is very evident. Again, the immune research is interesting, he was diagnosed last summer with RA. Very odd. I am a university professor in child development, so I come from a different perspective (other than medicine). My sister is a pharmacologist, so we have had differing views on the issue of purity in vaccines. All in all, it has been an interesting journey as a parent, and my son is my hero as well. He completed high school with honors and achieved an AA with a 3.82 GPA. He has just finished his pharmacy technician training – ironic, but who better? i hope he goes on to research and contributes to the field.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • MNUSA

      My advice to new parents is always "trust your own instincts." It's fine to consult with your pediatrician and he/she should be willing to work with you toward the good health and positive development of your child. But don't let anyone pooh-pooh your instincts. You are the parent of this child – you are his/her most important ally in life.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Might I suggest changing your name to "Uneducated & Ill-informed"?

      June 8, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • smith

      reading comprehension levels on some of the people commenting here is absolutely ridiculous. no wonder the Chinese and Indians are killing America in education.

      ps...good post

      June 8, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • hurricanefnc

      My 5 y/o son is part of a study called SEED that the CDC, the state I live in and local Drs are conducting. It will not help in the short term but it could make a difference in the long term. Basically they are taking typical children, children that had developmental delays and children that fall on the Autism spectrum. I have answered tons of questions on my pregnancy and his development ,they are also taking blood and hair samples from the whole family and doing evaluations.Here is the link if you want to check it out http://www.cdc.gov/Features/AutismResearch/ My son was developmentally delayed and has Sensory issues but doesn't fall on the spectrum, we are in the process of getting a muscular myopathy diagnosis. My brother's son falls on the spectrum and I have 2 cousins that have children on the spectrum as well. I do think it is genetic ,but also think that there is an environmental component as well. I am NOT anti Vaccine, however I do think they should be spaced out a little bit longer and not be given multiple vaccines at once. I would love to know the supplements as well Stay Strong Educated and Informed you are your child's best advocate. I wish you the best.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      It would be much better if we returned to the days of the 'Iron Lung.' Anyone who does not vaccinate their child is socially irresponsible.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Not vaccinating your children is foolish and reckless. To consider a link to autism is absurd!

      June 8, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
    • Juicing

      drinking fresh vegetable juice (4 times a day), organic Aloe Vera juice and enema helps my child. My family has gone vegan and we stopped eating meat, processed, gulten, eggs, suger drinks so everyone is treated equally.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • Educated & Informed

      I'll say it again, I'm not anti-vaccine–for those who have responded by ranting about not vaccinating, please re-read everything. I just think that we need to be more cautious with how vaccines are administered, based on each individual child. Also re-read that NO research has ever been done on giving multiple vaccines shots in a single day and its link to autism. Pharmaceutical companies have only shown the effects of single vaccines given and if they link to autism. My point is some children are more susceptible to adverse effects due to underlying immune, genetic, or environmental issues and vaccines DO NOT SOLELY CAUSE, but can help trigger autistic symptoms and further regression. If a child's system is already getting beat up genetically and environmentally, it's like delivering a knock-out blow to the sensory system by giving 4 or 6 vaccine shots to the body in one doctor visit...too much to handle, and can act like a brain injury. It's not one factor, it's A+B+C+D+E+F = autistic like symptoms/behavior. BTW, the government has admitted that children with an underlying mitochondrial disorder/diease can be and have been irreversibly effected by the ingredients in vaccines, which can cause "autistic-like symptoms, not autism itself". We just haven't come to the point yet to start testing children for this condition to know which children could be effected, because it involves a muscle tissue test in most cases. I don't know, maybe it would cost too much for insurance companies to cover.....however, solving these issues upfront would cost a lot less in the long run. Is there something wrong with having an independent scientific research group conduct multiple combinations of studies and the contributing effects of vaccines to children with various issues/needs, etc? Why are the only studies accepted from big pharma.....The companies that make the vaccines? Conflict of interest? Lastly, I turned out be a very healthy adult and I was only given 13 total vaccination "jabs" from birth to 18 years of age (the same with everyone else that grew up in the 70's & 80's), and in today's world our children are pushed to receive 37 different vaccines/boosters/injections. By all means, form your own opinion, but I've got mine as well. I'm just not sure how people feel they can speak out against something when they have no first-hand experience of having a child with these issues. See everyday life through my eyes, or better yet, my son's eyes, and I know you'd at least be open to the notion of conducting multiple levels of research and basing the method of vaccinations on each individual's ability to handle the vaccines (not just settle for pharma's own "private" individual vaccine research methodology).....it's too gray, unclear, and way too heavily debated to just let go, especially when the government, who is in bed with big pharma, admits there is a vaccine/autism-like connection with certain susceptible children.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Excellent post, and I completely agree with you.

      My 3.5 year old also had a traumatic birth, and lost all speech and eye contact after an extensive bout of vaccinations (he had just recovered from a fever as well when he was vaccinated), later to be diagnosed with Autism. In my case, I am sure that there is a genetic component. My brother has ADD, and I have many Aspie traits.

      Most of us parents who believe that vaccines may have played a role in our childrens condition do not want a ban on vaccines, only that more care is taken when they are given. Do not give vaccines when the children are too sick or too young. Do not administer all of them at the same time which may put undue stress on the immune system. etc etc....

      As for all of you who keep saying that they have proved that vaccines do not cause Autism, you are wrong... There is no published paper that proves that vaccines do not cause autism, only papers written that could not find a connection between vaccines and Autism.

      Maybe we should start our own study. Lets take 1000 healthy children that have a genetic pre-disposition to Autism, vaccinate half using a conservative schedule when they are healthy, and the other half jab them with all at vaccines at once and administer when they are recovering from an illness.... Would you volunteer your child for that study?

      June 8, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • Momof4

      @ Educated and Informed – thank you. Very clear and well written response. You said it well they just can't process what you are saying due to preconceived notions. I, too, had the same experience with my son at 18 months. weakened immune system from birth, genetic predisposition, and went downward the week after he had his vaccines. I believe it overloaded his already struggling immune system, and this was a "trigger event," not the cause. My son is 17 years old now, doing well – A/B honors student and will be able to attend college. We did hours of speech/ABA for several years, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket, and sacrificed our lives for his future. It has all been worth it. Follow what you know and stay the course. The daily progress may seem slow, but the yearly progress is always forward. Best of luck to your family and your son.

      June 8, 2011 at 21:32 | Report abuse |
    • Glutathione the key?

      Just curious what anyone who has researched chemicals/toxins and autism has to say on the subject. Glutathione is the body's natural detoxifier. It has been shown that Autistic children have low glutathione levels and often high heavy metal toxicity. Without normal glutathione levels, children are unable to detoxify their bodies of toxins: mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum etc. Thereby allowing higher levels of toxins to damage the nervous system. It seems to me that the glutathione connection should be looked into more extensively. Test children for their glutathione levels at birth, if low, do things to raise those levels before vaccines are given and before there is prolonged exposure to environmental toxins. I know this doesn't account for development in the womb, but just my thoughts on the matter.

      June 8, 2011 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
  8. victor pavlovic

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a sheep and is afraid to stand up for the vaccine injured children!

    June 8, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • seriously226

      What about standing up for the innocent children that DIE from a PREVENTABLE disease because someone was afraid to vaccinate their child based on bad science?

      June 8, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      I just love it when people like you voice stupidly wrong opinions despite the evidence, which you evidently ignore. Especially when the opinion is as dangerous as yours. Are you enjoying the spike in measles deaths that has occurred since that false report linking autism and vaccines was released? Perhaps you would like more children to die because you and others like you don't know what you're talking about? The one study supporting it was falsified, not that you will pay attention to facts anyway.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
    • ASD MOM

      Don't listen to the other two. A child is at a much higher risk of developing Autism in this country than any other illness combined! Remember folks, if you get your shots, your covered. The ones that choose not to get them are the ones putting themselves or their children at risk so if you get shots, and your fam gets shots, quick complaining! Your not gonna die!

      There is a definite link between Autism and immune upset. The reason why there is no link between Autism and vaccines at this point is because 90% of the cases of adverse reactions NEVER get reported. My sons seizures 2 hours after his shots was NEVER REPORTED!!! He had food allergies, colic, they should have waited. The Dr. saw no reason for concern, but common sense, not science, was right. I should have never vaccinated my child until his was out of the "danger zone".

      No one wants a disabled kid. No one asks for an Autistic child. Where is the empathy! Seriously, people suck.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • TomFoolery

      Who should one believe? A medical doctor who has actually looked at objective evidence, or a hysterical, uneducated Hollywood nitwit engaging in fear mongering and attacking an overwhelmingly (and it's not even close) positive thing: vaccinations.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • mkjp

      ASD MOM: I feel for you, your family, and your situation. But why, on earth, would you not report seizures your baby was having? If I had a child having seizures, we would be in the ER in two shakes and I would be spewing info about every last little thing I did with my child in the last month! So things like "oh he just got thus and such a vaccine this morning" would have come out. Then there would be data points. But even with those data points, correlation does not imply causation.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      ASD MOM. AS stated in the article the genetic component of autism is widely accepted. Although i feel for your child and your family, your child's autism was most likely passed on genetically. It is important to understand this and stop blaming it on vaccines when there is almost no evidence to back that claim up.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:59 | Report abuse |
  9. GOP Hate America

    I say we just ignore this problem as we do with everything else. A solid republican philosophy

    June 8, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TomFoolery

      What a brilliant comment. "Republicans" hate Americans, and are greedy, evil, selfish and irresponsible, right? People aren't individuals, are they? They're either "Republicans" or they aren't, right? You hate "Republicans" don't you? Does that make you feel good?

      June 8, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
    • Ther Real Tom Paine

      @ tomfoolery:

      It is a perfectly valid conservative arguement to ignore things if they don't benefit you personally. Why, I would have thought every Con would be doing that, seeing as how they are all slavish disciples to Ayn Rand. If this does not make you feel good, ignore it. Go John Galt!

      June 8, 2011 at 16:21 | Report abuse |
    • MNUSA

      Republicans are the most anti-family group I've ever seen. They are against every pro-family policy that all other industrialized, capitalist countries have including universal health and dental care, paid maternity/paternity leave, affordable quality day care, living wages, paid sick leave which can be used to care for an elderly parent, child or other family member and pre-natal care for unborn babies. Being anti-abortion (which 100% of us are) has nothing to do with being pro-family. I hate seeing young couples and families struggling to raise their children, pay for health and dental care and dumping a child off at a day care providers home hoping they will be safe until they're old enough to talk. Anyone voting for Republicans should stop to ask themselves: Will these people provide for my children or grandchildren so that they can raise healthy, happy families or will they take the food out of their mouths in an effort to capitulate to big multi-national corporations?

      June 8, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      The real evil are those who want government to control every aspect of our lives, who believe politicians know better how to parent than you, who espouse that "it takes a village to raise a child.

      Guess which party they belong to!

      June 8, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
  10. Steve

    Chemicals don't cause autism, but they may increase the risk for those who are genetically at risk to get autism. For example: Someone may smoke their entire life and not get lung cancer and someone may smoke for ten years and die from it. Some people are genetically predisposed to the disease and in these instances certain environmental conditions increase the likelihood of getting the disease.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Janet

      Sweetie, no one in my family or my husband's family had any kids with autism or any other cognitive imbalances. Tell me why kids are autistic. And keep it clean.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      See this is a very common mistake when people try to understand genetics. Just because one of your immediate family members does not have the disease doesn't mean that the disease is not genetic. Just the fact that you said your kids (plural) have the disease means that it is most likely genetic. Many genes are recessive meaning that they do not express themselves do to another dominate gene which is expressed. However, when two recessive genes are paired together, the recessive gene is expressed. This most likely means that both you and your husband were recessive carriers for an autism gene. Again just because no one you know of in your family has the disease does not in anyway mean that it is not hereditary.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
    • seriously226

      I get, from this article, that the mother's exposure to these chemicals during fetal development may be a factor in the child developing the genetic condition known as autism – not after the child is born.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      "there could be interactions between susceptibility genes and environmental chemicals"

      Gene-environment interactions can occur at any stage of life including the womb.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • special ed teacher

      @ Janet – for the same reason that a family will have no one with read hair for 8 generations, then a red head will show up. Genetics are more complicated than just "My brother has it, so my son will have it". It can be passed dormantly for generations before something triggers it.

      It also could have been that people in your family have always had the genetic predisposition, but the recent onslaught of chemicals and other triggers cause something that originally would have not appeared to show up.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
    • cara

      Steve is correct. A well established example of this is Tay-Sachs disease.


      June 8, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @ Special Ed Teacher:
      While your statement is true, the idea that the "recent onslaught of chemicals and other triggers" having been the catalyst doesn't hold up very well. If that were the case the spike of autism in children would have happened more in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s and we would now start seeing a decline in autism. Because starting in the 90s (earlier as well, but became much more prevalant in the 90s) the use of toxic and harmful chemicals started to drop drastically, at least in North America and parts of Europe. Just sayin...

      June 8, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      and cell phone dont increase your risk of cancer...oh...wait a minute...studies show they can..and Gupta just did a story on anderson coopers show about how he does not hold his cell phone next to his head or body anymore. How many years have they been telling us that cell phones are completely safe?

      June 8, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
    • Aspergers Parent

      Autism is NOT a disease, it is an inherited set of characteristics that runs in families. Some of of those characteristics like mathematical ability and single minded determination would be sorely missed if a "cure" was ever to be found. Many of mans most important advances have been made by people on the autism spectrum. I fail to see why everybody should aspire to being a "dumb blond". Maybe we should be looking for a drug to make people smarter and we can all be autistic

      June 8, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
  11. MSfrom CA

    If you people refuse to use the Reply button, at least put the name of the person you are responding to in your response. Its basic stuff.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Drinker

      Sometimes the reply button doesn't work and your post ends up at the bottom. This is the worst system for comments!

      June 8, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
  12. Janet

    "We live, breathe and start our families in the presence of toxic chemical mixtures and constant low-level toxic exposures". I've been saying this for years. My 16 year old son has Asperger's Syndrome and my daughter has autism of non-specific description. My husband and I lived in the same farming community for years, then lived in a farming community that had no farming restrictions(meaning they could burn old butane tanks, or not smog farm vehicles). All this chemical breathing in the air I did during both pregnancies may have caused their autism! It sucks because I don't know who to blame for this. One county had farming restrictions while the other county didn't! Now what?

    June 8, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mkjp

      continue to love and care for your family, and don't worry about suing someone for their hardships. That seems like a reasonable way to move forward.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
    • FloridaDave

      I hope you don't live in Michigan where the farms all had PBB contamination due to the accidental mixing of fire retardent with the cattle feed in the middle 1960s. I was there and it was a horrible scandal full of cover ups and denials. Ask anyone who would have been around there during that time.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
    • NOVANative

      While I am sorry for your struggles, why are you so focused on blame? Two kids with autism spectrum disorders suggests genetics. Did you have six children with no autism diagnosis in the first community? You don't have to blame anyone. Just love your kids, as others have said.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      If both your kids are affected then its probably your genetics...thanks

      June 8, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
  13. MoninNC

    "The cost of autism is staggering: $3.2 million for the care of a person with autism throughout his or her life"

    So when can I expect that check in the mail to take care of my daughter? I'd really like to know the answer to that. Dealing with autism is a lesson in patience daily. It's affected every facet of our lives. Her father and I have become polite comfortable room mates instead of married people in love; following the early years when he blamed me for being the cause of her having this condition. So please tell me just when can I expect that check?

    June 8, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • seriously226

      Why should you get paid? You chose to have a child and all the expenses that come with it, its no one's fault that your child was born with autism, just like its no one's fault a child is born with down syndrome. So as the parent of the child, you are responsible for their expenses, no matter what they may be. There is probably financial assistance and disability, but no, you're not getting a $3.6 million check to take care of YOUR child.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
    • Rocksor


      It's called tax payer's money, and there isn't anything you can do about it.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • MoninNC

      Why should her father and I be compensated for the expenses of raising her with autism. I'll tell you why. The chemicals were purposely and deliberately added to the goods and therefore the environment without reguard for the effect. The chemical companies reaped the reward and charged a premium without the slightest bit of conscience of the health effects upon people. I take the responsibility every single day in taking care of and meeting her every need. Why cannot the chemical companies take that same responsibility to compensate the families they have severely affected for lifelong hardship.
      Big business needs stop taking people for granted and playing god with our lives. We trust the companies to make better. Not make worse.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      MoninNC see this is the problem with many parents with children with autism. They want to blame everyone else but themselves. Did you read the article? It clearly stated that the genetics of autism are widely accepted fact. This means that you need to look in the mirror before you start blaming everyone else and demanding money.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • Drinker

      When you have children there is the possibility of them having health issues. It's the risk you take in becoming a parent.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      So where is my check for raising a diabetic daughter? Where is my check for having to deal with an alcoholic ex-husband? Who should I blame and ask for compensation from? Really? How about we live, learn and try to make the world better by what we learn.

      Learn to make lemonade 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • BettyBettyBetty

      @ Seriously:

      Until your spawn or your spawn's spawn exhibit said disorder, please do us all a favor and cram a large sock into your noxious lathered maw–or for internet purposes, keep your talons off the keyboard. Please and thank you. 🙂

      I guess this is appropriate for Steve also.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Speak for yourself. You instantly know my family history? I don't choose to blame my child's autism on anyone! I don't expect money from anyone! I love my child as much as a parent could, but I am not going to blame the disease on nonsense. Don't assume you know everything.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • E

      @Steve Autism is an incredibly difficult disease to deal with and it takes everything out of a caregiver at every moment of the day. To say that there was any blame to place at all on anyone for MoninNC's child's autism is a disgusting and ignorant comment. She was simply trying to express her frustration and the lack of monetary compensation that there is available for people in MoninNC's position. A child with autism is a child like any other. Blame for the way MoninNC's child's autism should not be a factor as there is no blame to be placed. Autism does not take away from the fact that her child is a valuable member of the community just like any other HUMAN being.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      None of us had se_x with you or your spouse...why do you want money from us?...why are parents of this disease always so fixated on looking for someone to blame? Imagine what parents whose kids have cancer think? Do you believe that is easier? At least your kids arent going to die from this.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • MoninNC

      My final comment. The point I was making with my earliest comment was made from a frustrated and sarcastic view. The writer posting the amount of 3.2 million for the lifelong care of an individual with autism was inflammatory and irresponsible. It only illuminated the burden on families, like mine, caused by the chemical companies who take no liability and responsibility for the harm they are causing and yet their wealth grows while the wealth of families shrinks. I know very well there will never be compensation not even with litigation. If any good comes from the spirit of this single article I hope that is for all of the big companies to do greater research of the effects their products can cause so possibly in the future autism, and other potentially environmentally caused syndromes and illnesses will not be such the issue it is presently.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
  14. bob

    there is nothing in that article that actually links what they're claiming except for some isolated cherry picked small studies. They are saying stuff like...oh you know certain toxic things are in the environment, therefore it all causes autism. BAD BAD spin by the reporter...I hope they didnt have any pre-conceived notions before spouting this off to everyone...

    June 8, 2011 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Chris Franks

    I have a son that is nine years old , with no speach , a seizure disorder , and was born with mal-rotation, I would be willing to allow a study to be done on my child and release all of his medical records to any reseach group that would be willing to use it just to try to prevent this from happening to another child. I would give anything to help find a cure!!!

    June 8, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      As would any good parent such as yourself. Stay strong!

      June 8, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
  16. dave_in_altmar

    Sounds like nobody has the first clue of the "why" and "how", so they're throwing darts at the proverbial board...

    June 8, 2011 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NOVANative

      Now that is one kernel of truth here, Dave. There is one thing we can blame to a certain degree: genetics. Beyond that, we have no proof of anything. Of course, BPA alone should be banned because the evidence is now a smidge from definitive that it is an endocrine disruptor for everyone, but there is no proof (a word hated by some) that any of these things are culprits in the development of autism. There are some theories (admittedly theories by those suggesting them) that hypothesize some possible mechanisms. No proof, though. No proof.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
  17. Largo Barbara

    Well that is an understatement – we knew that right along – find out which ones. The drug companies have been screwing around so long with formulas Im sure even they have lost they paper trail.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      These companies don't lose the paper trail generally. However, when they merge and acquire other companies, I could see things getting lost in the shuffle.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
  18. ASD MOM

    My first born, a boy, was diagnosed with autism at 19 mos. old. He is allergic to eggs, wheat, soy, dairy, turkey, pineapple, watermelon, coconut...

    The only thing I agree with in this article is that external factors ARE responsible for triggering the genetic episode. My son had debilitating seizures 2 hours after a set of vaccines at 12 mos. of age. We did identify the dairy allergy before then, but after the seizures, he was never the same. Whether is was the shots, the food allergies, something else in the environment, or a combination of all these things, one fact is clear to me. Until a child is over the age of 2 (the danger zone) and until we can identify who is at risk, we must heir on the side of caution. My second child is fine, she just started getting shots this year and she is four. I am not against vaccines, I am against overloading our children's immune systems at too young of an age when their brains are at the most critical stages of development. My son is a sickly child, his immune function is NOT normal. I have talked with many mothers...even though their experiences are all unique, the link between induced illness or great immune upset....it's always there! Always! Wake up America! We have to back off on those exposures we can control.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shane

      Please stop disregarding all the research that has been put into the relationship of the emergence of autism and vaccines. You clearly do not understand that EVERYTHING about the research connecting autism to vaccines was completely debunked and proven to be false and not true in any way. From what you have said about your son, it is much more likely that his siezures were a reaction from one of his food allergies that you didn't know he had at the time. And I'm betting your son is sickly because he has a poor immune system and LOTS of food allergies, NOT because he was given vaccines. Please, wake up yourself.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
  19. Ben

    Wouldn't this imply that children in 3rd world countries would have austism at a rate much, much higher than the US. Even children in India bath, drink and play in water more toxic than anything American children come into contact with.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • momtex

      Children in third world countries are usually nursed and have food that is grown by their families. I would say that the majority of mothers in the US don't do that. As far as the environment, third world countries aren't going to have all of the environmental toxins we create... thy are just that.. third world.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
    • Rocksor


      Third world countries are the dumping ground for toxic wastes, electronics, garbage, etc. of the modern countries.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • Jasana

      You are wrong. I'm from Brazil and autism there is very rare. We have more infectious diseases and less vaccines.You go figure it out.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
    • Rocksor


      South Korea has a lower vaccine rate than the US, but a higher prevalence of autism. Explain that.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • D


      June 8, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      It is not easy compare across countries when access to healthcare and the inclination to diagnose a disease can be so different. It is also another reason why it is so difficult to compare across time within the US.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
    • ES

      I am from Russian and the autism is very rare,as well as breast cancer. The cancer I can explain – not much sun. As for autism, I think one explanation is that our lifestyle is far more natural and another is that the weakest children simply don't surviv until the birth or die at birth. US has very advanced medical care available for newborns whoch allows very weak to survive. But then a trade-off is all kinds of disorders and continuation of the weak genetic pool. before advanced medicine the bad genes were eliminated via natural process. It sounds cruel yet it is true.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      Ben, fantastic question. Just about 3 months ago there was a study done in South Korea on children to determine if they had autism, and in fact they discovered that the autism rate in children there was 1 in 38, instead of 1 in 100, like in the US.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • ES

      > South Korea has a lower vaccine rate than the US, but a higher prevalence of autism. Explain that

      @Rocksor – South Korea is highly industrialized country, even more so than the US. they don't have much land and heavy industry is everywhere as well as electronics.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      I agree with ES..its also why russian chicks are so hot. Better genetics

      June 8, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
  20. Tony

    Question/poll for anyone whose kids have autism: Was the mother on the birth control pill when she met/courted/married the father?

    June 8, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      If it were as simple as the birth control pill, I think we would have figured it out by now.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      Yes! At last someone else who sees a potential link between all the hormones being poured into women's bodies and the babies they produce! Don't pooh-pooh this until research is done to check it out.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
  21. momtex

    They are just figuring this out? It's obvious! All of the bad chemicals and growth hormones in food... my daughter and I go organic! And I have also started growing my own veggies.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. dutspup

    so the shots dont do it, its the windex?

    June 8, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shane

      No, Windex fixes everything.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • kmarier

      maybe windex can fix autism too. it's worth a shot.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
  23. Darwin

    It's ironic and amusing that so many people, women especially, rant about the dangers of all those AWFUL CHEMICALS, yet use billions of pounds of cosmetics, shampoos, detergents, fabric softeners, hair spray, body lotions, etc. etc. that are CHOCK FULL of numerous chemicals that have NEVER been TESTED for safety in human clinical trials, especially those STINKY ARTIFICIAL SCENTS. Maybe we'll discover 10 years from now that this whole autism epidemic was actually caused by that disgusting cheap scent chemical in those fabric softener throw-ins!

    June 8, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      To say nothing of new car smell. I really dislike that smell. Also, everyone wants everything new each time they have a baby. There could be offgassing from all of this new plastic crap.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      Here Here! not to mention that almost every woman in America is on about 10 different hormones and medication trying to be happy. American women are the most medicated subset of human beings ever.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  24. Rob P

    http://www.scatteredminds.com makes for great, insightful reading on this subject. The stressful environment we try to raise children in, deprives them of the mental stimuli they need as they develop. Its part of the puzzle in my humble opinion.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Veeva

    The genetic background will tell us something interesting, though. It will allow us to do better science, and to better measure risk. As it stands right now its hard to measure the impact of the risks of vaccines, for example, because the negative effects do occur, but occur at such a low rate as to be statistically negligible, and hence we say that "we show no correlation between vacccination and autisim". While that statement is true, its not the whole truth. It does not mean that vaccines are safe, it merely means that for the overwhelming majority of people they are overwhelmingly safe. But what about for the unlucky few? Lets not let science become a monster that sweeps people under a rug of numbers because pharmaceutical companies manage to keep loose regulations. I think that in the future rather than taking random groups and comparing them, we will take genetically stratified groups and compare them. We will measure people with a predisposition to developing autisim due to each cause, whether it be this immune system gene type or this gene involved in brain development, etc... and compare groups exposed to X potential toxin (including vaccination) vs control. What I believe we will find is that against most, indeed the vast number of genetic backgrounds: vaccination does not result in autism. However what we will find is that in a very few individuals with a certain genetic background vaccination likely triggers an immune reaction in the developing human brain which causes autism, or that under certain conditions of toxic exposure these people are statistically much more likely to develop autism. These are currently factors which are hidden from scientific inquiry because they disappear in the statistical shuffle of measuring random groups, and account for some tiny percentage which is deemed "statistically irrelevant" but which is assuradly relevant to the individuals involved. Rather than ignore these kinds of specificities and frame the debate in the general, by saying that: "vaccines are safe" or that "plastics are safe" etc... we need to say: "in these cases plastics are safe" or "for these people vaccines are safe". In the future we will perform more specific correlation studies which control for genetic background, and give more specific and relevant information about risk.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      Correlational studies by definition do not prove causation whatsoever!

      June 8, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Steve is right. Besides, think about what you said, "but what about the unlucky few?". Meaning we should disregard that the majority will be placed at risk of possible death or other life debilitating diseases, because of the few that may have a negative reaction? Your logic doesn't make sense for the basic preservation of human existance...

      June 8, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Veeva-I think you have a very intelligent comment here. The better we are at refining the genetics, the better we can individualize medicine. It may be for certain families in the future we may gain sufficient knowledge to say, vaccines should be avoided for them and them only. However, right now because the knowledge is at such an early stage, medical advice has to focus on what benefits the population as a whole. If it is really a tiny minority that is sensitive to vaccines, I think that they could be accommodated within a herd immunity paradigm. The problem is that every family with autism wants to blame it on something, science be darned.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      To Shane's point, then we should disregard autistic children as a statistic anomaly, right? I mean, only 1% of children get it, so no big deal.....

      June 8, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • NOVANative

      Steven, please be fair. Shane is not saying ignore them. He is saying the currently unfounded broad fear of vaccination is causing more harm to a greater percentage of people, and until we know how to identify the "unlucky few," we need to vaccinate because we KNOW what these preventable diseases can do. Too many of us have not seen them (because of vaccines) but those of us with medical education know what they can do: kill, maim, sterilize, blind, deafen, etc. But to the point, I believe that Veeva makes some excellent and cogent points that can help all involved. We should focus on those that may be at increased risk to injury by immune insult (even colds and flu have been correlated with onset of autistic symptoms-correlation, not proven causation). If we can identify those at risk, we won't vaccinate those few. Herd immunity is an excellent protection. Our current method of "vaccines might be bad so don't vaccinate my kid" is turning out quite badly for us as we are seeing more and more frequent outbreaks of preventable diseases.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
    • Mom of Aspie

      This is what those of us who are less eloquently spoken are trying to say! Go Girl (?)!

      June 8, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
  26. Ben

    Austism is related to Christmas and the 4th of July. Studies show that 50% of all children begin showing signs of austism within just 3 months of one of these two days. Now there is even thought that Easter and Halloween are major causes of autism as well. Scary stuff!!

    June 8, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ADA

      Nicely put.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      and that doesnt even address children born on Monday's

      June 8, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
  27. Respect

    The saddest thing about the "vaccines do not cause autism" crowd besides calling us "wingnuts" is the fact that they forget history. Take a look back 100 years ago, and see how many kids had autism. Was that even a word in the dictionary back then?

    Autism, Alzheimers, Heart Attacks, Strokes, and Degenerative Diseases were almost non-existent. So what happened?

    Show me a kid that has autism, and I'll bet you a grand that says he either had an

    A) government poisoned vaccine
    B) Parents with mercury fillings in their teeth
    C) Parents who use aluminum based deodorants
    D) Parents who use heavy fragrance and sulfate based cleansing products
    E) Parents who ingest other poisons

    In my business, I meet lots of parents. The ones who did not use poisons to vaccinate, and eat organic, and use non-chemical based cleaners who also abstained from amalgam fillings had no children with any issues. Not one.

    To those who call us wingnuts, remember, You don't ever just "get sick". There is always a cause. And blaming genetics is a cop out to admitting that you have been duped, and poisoning yourself for years.

    Visit a culture that eats organic and cleans organic and does abstains from any industrial poisons. Take a look at how many degenerative issues they have and get back to me.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      What's your business? Bullsh!T?!?

      June 8, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
    • brand

      @Respect....it's called Africa.....you wingnut!

      June 8, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      In countries where large portions of the population die from preventable deseases (that we control with vaccinces) you don't care about autism. Mental disorders like austism will only reach a social level once other major deseases are eliminated. I'm sure the recorded autism level of US slaves or Jews in Europe 60 years ago was very low as well.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      "I'm sure the recorded autism level of US slaves or Jews in Europe 60 years ago was very low as well"

      I didn't know that there was slaves in the US 60 years ago.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Are you serious? How ignorant can you be to try and use that type of logic? 100 years ago they didn't know what polio was, and yet lots of people died from it. 100 years ago if someone was had a mental disability or retardation, they were thought to have demons inside them. Don't come here trying to use some stupid logic that has nothing to do with rational thought.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
    • N

      You're right, less industrialized cultures probably have fewer degenerative diseases. Would we like to compare infectious disease deaths? Average life expectancies?

      That list of exposures applies to all children. Everyone injests things that are poisonous, that's why we have livers. I'm also curious why you think the government is poisoning the vaccine supply. Trying to reduce the taxpayer base, perhaps?

      June 8, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Seriously, aluminum in deodorant? Most kids are not really licking their parents underarms.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      Back then they would just knock a kid in the head that had mental problems and have another 10

      June 8, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
  28. Ben

    Anybody look into ultrasound studies?

    June 8, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      do you know how ultrasound works?

      June 8, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      Yeah I did and its the cause fosho

      June 8, 2011 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
  29. Cyril Camm

    With all this findings related to this disease, as a youth i'm confused as to what i can do to help reduce this menance. I'm scared 2 even start a family. Someone give me more info.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mom of Aspie

      You could do everything right and have something go wrong in the womb; you could do everything wrong, including do drugs, etc. and have the child turn out perfect. It is a roll of the dice. There is no crystal ball to see what will happen. Do not let this make you afraid to have children. We, parents of children with disabilities or otherwise, love them all with all our hearts and have learned from them and would never trade the rough times, truthfully. It is hard, yes, but it is worth it to give and get that type of unconditional love.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
    • D

      I think that if you can afford it, it would be good to eat organic produce and reduce your use of products with chemicals. You can go "old school" and use plain soap instead of scented bodywash, for example. Don't use stuff with antibiotics in it. Check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for ratings on thing such as sunscreens and chemicals to avoid in products. I think these things apply to our own personal health as well as any potential offspring. Also know that Europe has banned thousands of chemicals that can still be used legally in the US. So another option is to use European products or move to Europe!

      June 8, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      You should probably have yourself sterilized so you dont have to risk it. You should probably dig a hole and sit in it in case something else bad happens. Life is a gamble, dont play

      June 8, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
  30. ricky

    i am 53 and autistic. my mom always thought that my condition was caused by chemicals used as pesticides in the apartment building they lived in when she was pregnant with me. i was born this way. i would like to say that although vaccines do not cause autism it would not surprise me that the pain of the shot causes an already autistic child to go deeper into themselves.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shane

      Now thats actually the most inteligable thing I have heard someone say about vaccines and autism. But removing vaccines from the picture isn't going to yield results.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
  31. Bob

    Why the vaccines again? Why cite studies that are based off of a single study by some unethical researcher in the UK?

    Stop listening to what you want to hear and learn the truth.

    This link has real references to look at:

    June 8, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Ed

    Many of you don't have a clue about vaccines and their history, but believe they are the savior of the civilized world. This is so far from the truth- disease was almost entirely eradicated (90-95%) prior to the use of vaccnies. Take a look at the charts from the CDC that show death rates from diseases and you'll see that when vaccines were actually introduced to the population, the disease they were developed to prevent was almost eradicated. This is primarily due to better sanitation (clean water, sewage, etc) and improved nutrition. If you look at the unvaccinated communities such as the Omish, they have very low rates of disease. Please eduate yourself on the subject instead of believing in the MSM. Dr. Tenpenny's work is a great place to learn the truth.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      Your post is very misleading or ignorant. The diseases that were eliminated by improved sanitation and nutrition are generally not those prevented by vaccination. For example, smallpox didn't start to disappear until there was a vaccine for it. Furthermore, in those diseases where parents kept their children from being vaccinated because of vaccine fears there has been an increase in the occurrence of those diseases. I have never read anything from any knowledgeable source that says anything other than that vaccines have been one of medicine's greatest successes.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      What about polio? Chickenpox? Measles? Those are just a few diseases that are no longer considered deadly diseases because of vaccines. "disease was almost entirely eradicated (90-95%) prior to the use of vaccnies" – This is the BIGGEST JOKE EVER! You clearly have no idea what you are talking about! Thats the equivalent of saying infections were nearly erradicated before we invented aniseptics, it is simply astounding how you can believe such far fetched ideas.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
    • D

      We have a winner for most ignorant, untrue comment on the whole board here!!! Anyone inclined to believe this just needs to look up the history of smallpox. Smallpox has been eradicated in the WHOLE WORLD (i.e. developing and developed countries) because of the vaccine. They only have a couple of tubes of it in the whole world right now in a couple of labs and are trying to decide whether to destroy those tubes or not. The developing countries are still poor and still have poor sanitation but NO SMALLPOX!

      June 8, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
  33. Lucielle Ball

    When you look at the number of chemicals in our environment and food are we truly surprised that we are suffering the consequences of it. When I see a pregnant mom drinking a diet coke or eating at Mc Donalds, I just want to scream at her. Also, I want to yell at the dad who is sitting with her eating his own crappy food when he too, has helped create a life.

    I also wonder how many of these babies were born premature or where the mother had problems in her pregnancy or had problems conceiving. I think the rates have gone up as we are able to save more of the babies that at one time, would not have survived.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NOVANative

      Lucielle, how about you quit wasting your energy wanting to scream at other people and look out for you. Really. It will give you more energy for better things. All this rage inside will only suck up your own energy. I hate to point this out, but not one of the chemicals being hypothesized here is in a burger from McDonald's. They are in hard plastics and other industrial products, but not food.Unless that food is in one of those hard plastics. Now those, I avoid, but I have no urge to scream at people who don't.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
  34. Lucielle Ball

    Hit the reply button so we know whom you are referring to!

    June 8, 2011 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. eatapeach10

    The sad point lost in all this is that "1 in 110 children are being diagnosed with Autism". HELLO!!!! That's a higher rate than cancer or heart patients!! Where's the funding and money needed to support these families that are trying to get their children going in the right direction?

    I for one am a parent with a soon-to-be 4 year old with Autism. My beef is more with the company I used to work for up until a few weeks ago, who opted out of all Autism-related medical coverage with their insurance policy. This put my wife and 3 kids in a big disadvantage, because I had to pay almost $75k in out of pocket in expensense, therapies, special diets, etc the last 3 years! I couldn't "save" for the eventual layoff, because I wasn't not going to support my son!! Now the gov't paying for it, which helps. It's sad that when you're tryingf to do the right thing, you get screwed!!

    Something HAS to change!! More importantly, awareness needs to continue to be spread and that starts in our communities. My wife and I are doing everything we can here in Jacksonville, but there is only so much one family can do! Voices for this cause are needed!!!!!!

    June 8, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim

      Eatapeach – Like ur name. Allman Brothers fan?

      June 8, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
    • D

      I don't get any pleasure in saying this but this country only gives lip service to children. Children can't vote and people don't care about children after they are born in the US. Maybe parents have to band together and join advocacy groups, but the difficulty here is that they are consumed with taking care of their children. It is a very difficult situation and I applaud you as a parent for doing your best.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
  36. Un-Vaccinated and HEALTHY

    You want to know if Autism is truly related to vaccines?? Why don't you research how many un-vaccinated children have Autism.. Why don't they tell you how many of the un-vaccinated do not suffer from all these horrible childhood diseases that so many vaccinated children get?? The truth is hard to swallow.. you people want to feel better about trusting scientists over your own instincts. You don't give your children bottles of poison to play with.. but you let a nurse shoot them up with every poisonous toxin they could cram in a vaccine.

    June 8, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shane

      Um, they can't tell you because they don't have a count on them, its kinda hard to know who is unvaccinated when you don't have a record of them. And before you propose that someone just count them, let me say that would nearly be a feat of impossibility. But, you do get a good estimate of how many of the unvaccinated suffer from these childhood diseases, it comes in the form of a death toll, most of the people that die from the diseases are the ones who weren't vaccinated. Try learning to walk before you run, because the only running your doing is running amuck.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • dre

      Unvaccinated children develop autism at precisely the same rate as vaccinated ones. That's how scientists know there's no connection between vaccines and autism, and that's why everyone keeps telling you that there's no connection between vaccines and autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      DRE, I would be very interested in reading those figures. Do you have a link on the study?

      June 8, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
    • NOVANative

      Steven, I know of one study specifically (but there are dozens) done in Sweden (national health care there, so they do have a count) on 600,000 kids, and no difference in autism. I'll do a search and see if I can find it. Or better yet, look for yourself. I don;' meant his maliciously, but it's not that hard to Google it.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • NOVANative

      Here, on the CDC web site, are links to over 100 US and European studies that show no link between vaccines and autism. 100 show no link. One proven to be fraudulent shows a link (By the way, Wakefield was developing his own vaccine to compete with the MMR, so who has a financial gain there?).

      June 8, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
  37. Celtcgrrl

    While I believe there is an increase in autism, it is also clearly a case of displaced diagnosis. Mental retardation rates are dropping at a statistically signifigant rate in keeping with increased autism rates. Also in an important study in the UK researchers found that of adults previously diagnosed with language disorders, 21% would now be diagnosed with some level of autism. I think we all know of kids that we grew up with that weren't even diagnosed with anything that today would be considered on the spectrum somewhere. Do I think the bombardment of developing fetuses with chemicals causes developmental issues? Yes. Do I think it is at epidemic proportions? No.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. blabbermouth

    Is anyone really surprised that the chemicals they are putting in our soaps, detergents, foods, and cleaning supplies and the plastic they store them in– is REALLY SAFE????????
    this doesn't surprise me one bit. Do some research and you'll find plenty of reasons why companies don't want you to know the stuff they give you to consume is harmful.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mom of Aspie

      My son's pediatrician has said for years that she believes personally/professionally that it is a combination of plastics and genetic predisposition to the disorder. She believes this to be the cause for most neurological disorders. It's just a big "toxic stew" while the baby is brewing in the womb. She's a smart one.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
  39. Brandon

    Here we go again

    June 8, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. DD

    Anoher day, another misleading MSN headline.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. CKL

    My son has Asperger. When he was born in 1992 I went through Pregnancy in Charleston WV where a huge fire made breathing rough for awhile.. did that contribute? I can tell you I went through labor for nearly 24 hours, pushed for 2 and then asked for meds.. the midwives had me WALK to the car (at 10 cm.. such fun!) and when I got to the ER, they over medicated me and gave me an emergency C-section. Later I watched a nurse DROP him into the crib while another nurse said "there's the mom".. later he reacted horribly to a Vaccine for Pertussis and something else.. screamed for HOURS!!! He also had horrible Colic.. are all these factors as well??

    June 8, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      No he just has a crazy mother, theres no cure for that though.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
    • CKL

      hmmm. not sure about the crazy part LOL! I know I did my best to have a natural birth, I did diapers, not disposables, I did 100% green futon in crib to avoid off gassing of crib matteress, nursed until my child weaned, did La Leche, served home cooked meals... the only thing that intervened was medicine in my child's life. So I am unsure of what to "blame".. the Drs tested him and said he could have had some brain damage at birth..(maybe when the nurse dropped him? They had also tried suction during my labor, and that attaches to his head). His only obvious reaction to anything was to the vaccine. I did avoid vaccines with his sister until she was older, she does not have Asperger/Autism. She is a straight A High School student, that is outgoing and in the Band/Colorguard/Choir/Theater.. and a huge personality difference from her brother, but maybe they would have that difference even without the Asperger. I would like to know the reason he has this, but there are times that I am so impressed at the way he sees things. He thinks things through differently, and that is not always a bad thing.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
  42. glennk1949

    The vaccine thing is an Urban myth. The possibility however that toxic chemicals are a cause is a very real possibility. Most people are unaware that since the early 20th century we have been filling the planet with toxic man-made substances and the so called environmental movement has really been nothing more then a fig leaf for the Industries and nations doing this. I wouldn't be surprised at all to find that one or more of these chemicals is the culprit in this rapidly evolving nightmare.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NOVANative

      Glenn, do you really think, that after Silent Spring and all of the other well-circulated and taught facts that most people don't know what we put all kinds of crap on the planet? Everyone knows. We just don't know precisely which chemical that has been a boon to mankind in one form or another is to blame. We need to find out which ones and discontinue their use. But we don't need to get rid of all chemicals.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
  43. Mike, Cleveland OH

    Part of the "massive increase" is due to the "popularity" of autism as the "disease-de-jour", much like ADHD was back in the 90s. We just came up with fancier words and explanations for "Johnny is a little slow/antisocial". Just wait until a medication for autism is approved .. then cases will skyrocket.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mom of Aspie

      You do not live in the reality of this disorder. It is real and not imagined and certainly not a disease "du jour".

      June 8, 2011 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      @ Mom of Aspie:
      He isn't saying that autism is made up or imagined, he is stating a very common occurance. That when something new comes to light, its all the rage. Meaning that autism is very popular with researchers and scientist right now, and that in turn they are putting too broad of terms into the classification of autism, which suddenly gives everybody autism. This means that while most of the ones diagnosed with autism will truely be autistic, it also means that a good number of them may in fact be suffering from another disease or mental disorder, and are wrongfully diagnosed as being autistic because they share some common traits. The exact same thing happened with ADHD in the 90s, everytime a kid was rowdy in class, they were diagnosed as having ADHD because it was the popular diagnoses at the time. Being over zealous about something can have very bad results.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
  44. Lesliee

    I totally agree with the article. I was lucky to have my daughter diagnosed at 3, but early intervention services for her began at 18 months. We currently live in a rural area where farming is main industry. On several ocassions we have driven by cropdusters when they are treating the cotton grown in our area. I've often wondered what affects they have, when there aren't any barriers protecting residents in the area when they are spraying. My family is fortunate that she is high functioning with speech delays, but I think this is something that needs to be looked into further.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      I almost feel there is more exposure in farming communities than in urban centers. Good luck to you.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  45. E Mac

    I feel each parent has to make a choice about what is right for their children.I do not think it is fair to call others 'stupid' for their decisions. We are all just doing what we feel is best for our children. And at this point, none of us knows what will end up being the cause of Autism. I am completely organic. I grow my own foods, breastfeed and cloth diaper my child. I do, however, give my children vacines. I am an occupational therapist and have seen the affects of autism, as well as seen children suffer/die from diseases that could have been prevented with vaccines. I wish every parent would research their decisions. The problem with this, though, is that many people do know know how to find credible information on the internet. There are many articles that are based purely out of personal opinion and not evidence. I do not know what it feels like to have a child with autism, however, I can appreciate the need to learn why. I hope that one day we are not only able to determine why but also how to cure this terrible disease.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply


    June 8, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Mark

    Not an expert – just a parent. I'm with the oringal poster and still "believe" that the combination of shots may very well be a contributor. I "believe' there might also be a genectic predisposition which the combination of shorts triggers. We all remember the baking soda and vindegar experiment in high school – never by them self are an issue – combine them and what was the result. I rest my case.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steven

      Mark, I completely agree. I have wondered for a long time about the combination of vaccines and the rate of administering them to very small children. Each one by themselves is completely safe, but in combination all together...Is it possible that it has some impact? On a different note, and more related to the article, about 10 years ago, the CDC tested 9000 people, and EVERY ONE of them had pesticides, and on average, 13 different ones in their blood or urine. Makes you think.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
    • D

      I like this analogy. Genes (DNA) are chemicals too, at a fundamental level.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
  48. Mom of Aspie

    reply to Rocksor

    THERE IS NO TAXPAYER MONEY GIVEN TO FAMILIES OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN. The cost is strictly the responsibility of the parents. At bests, we can apply for SSI (supplemental security income), but probably won't get approved. You have to make very little money to get approved for help from the government for any disability, unless your child was born with something they'll approve help for (and then, you get Medicaid).

    June 8, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. windrift

    I wish CNN would do a story on how non-existent insurance coverage is for autism and spectrum disorders. Also, how screwed you are if you are an adult with a spectrum disorder. All these children don't get cured at the age of 10 which is when virtually all insurance plans cease coverage, they grow into autistic adults.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Laura

    So let me get this straight. Neurotoxins cause autism. We need to be concerned with personal care products, yet vaccines that are immediately injecting staggering amounts of neurotoxins such as mercury (yes, still), formaldehyde and aluminum into a 10lb baby...are safe? Bull$$$t.

    June 8, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      I severely doubt the amounts are "staggering". It is just that a very small percentage of people may be genetically predisposed to be sensitive. Also, it is possible to get vaccines without the mercury.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      I'm with you on this one Laura. Vaccines are purposely developed to shock a person's immune system using adjuvants such as Aluminum and others which can easily overwhelm the immune system of a small child and cause brain damage leading to Autism. One vaccine can cause this damage, and our all knowing medical system decides that children need multiple shots all at the same time. This will go down as one of the greatest crimes in human history.

      June 9, 2011 at 02:34 | Report abuse |
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