Late last month, the Centers for Disease Control announced the release of an ongoing study that revealed a spike in autism cases over the last several years. Recent studies are finally confirming autism chemical connections with the environment.
According to the study, cases of autism jumped 23 percent from 2006 through 2008. When the numbers are compared to the cases of autism in 2002, that increase is a shocking 78 percent. When you go further back – over 20 years – the increase amounts to 400 percent.
Some doctors say that the increase is not as shocking as people may think, as it could just be a case of doctors or psychiatrists getting better at recognizing the symptoms and diagnosing more kids with autism.
What has other medical experts concerned is the fact that the cause of autism has been connected to something that happens to the brain while the baby is developing in the womb.
Dr. Max Wiznitzer of the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio told reporters, “The prevailing scientific idea is it’s something that affects the brain predominantly in utero – so in other words it’s either genetic or environmental factor in utero.” (1)
Autism Chemical Connections to the Environment
Recent research reveals that autism may be caused by the mother's own antibodies transferring to the fetus and causing damage to the sensitive developing brain tissue. This means that the cause of autism may actually be related to whatever is causing a mother's immune system to spike during pregnancy.
I should say here that the predominant "conspiracy theory" out there regarding autism is that it's linked to childhood vaccines. However, the majority of evidence does not point in the direction of the "childhood vaccine" theories.
The CDC confirms this lack of evidence on its website as well:
"At present, we do not know definitively if vaccines can trigger neurological or developmental declines among children with mitochondrial disorders. We do know, however, that infections can cause neurological and developmental declines among these children - and we also know that childhood vaccinations protect children against some of the same infections known to cause developmental decline among children with mitochondrial disorders." (2)
Instead, the evidence is pointing in the direction of the mother's immune system being triggered by something. Interestingly, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, overall allergy prevalence in the U.S. has been increasing since the early 1980s across all age groups, both genders and all racial groups. (3)
Another study that made the news in 2011, tying autism to the environment, was a study conducted at the University of California at San Francisco and Stanford University, which studied 192 twins and discovered that while genetics does appear to account for approximately 38 percent of the risk, environmental factors account for a shocking 62 percent risk. (4)
Yet another study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that women that take antidepressants during pregancy have a higher risk of having a child with autism. (6)
When all of these studies are examined together, it becomes very clear that environment plays a large part, as well as the effects that the environment - and genes, to a degree - have on the developing fetus inside the mother.
Autism Clearly Linked to Toxins
With all of the recent studies pointing to environment playing a very large part in what causes autism, more experts are admitting that's the case.
For example, Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto of the University of California spoke at a seminar titled "An Update on Environment and Autism", and admitted that environment is, in fact, a very large factor in whatever causes autism.
At the talk, she said:
"It is becoming more and more evident that multiple environmental and genetic factors contribute to elevated risks of autism, and the challenge is identifying those associations. I don't believe that just one gene or exposure can account for all cases of autism - it is much more complicated than that."
In fact, in August of 2010, medical researcher Stephen Barrie didn't hold back any punches when he wrote a piece for the Huffington Post titled "Child Autism Epidemic Firmly Linked to Environment."
In the article, Barrie writes:
"Experts agree that the primary explanation for the dramatic increase in autism is toxic environmental exposure and gene-environment interactions. New research shows that even low-dose, multiple toxic and infectious exposures may be a key factor tot he onset of autism."
In the article, Barrie refers specifically to the autism chemical connection to toxins when he quotes Dr. Paul Anastas of the EPA who told a government subcommittee looking into environmental factors related to autism, that children are more susceptible to chemicals in the environment because of the proportion of contaminants they take into their bodies as a ratio of body weight. (8)
This means that pollutants in the air and dust from things like lead paint, cleaning products, pesticides and other chemicals will affect kids long before they effect adults. Additionally, those chemical toxins may cause the immune reaction in the mother's body that may not harm the mother, but do lead to the neurological damage in the fetus.
Here at Top Secret Writers, we often seek out cases where corporations wittingly contaminate communities with toxic chemicals, as well as companies that knowingly introduce products into the market that are dangerous for human health.
It seems clear at this point that as a country, the United States has accepted "minimum acceptable level" of toxins that the EPA or the FDA defines as acceptable in our environment or in our food. However, could it be that the actual acceptable levels of those chemical toxins are far lower than anyone may yet realize?
How long will children need to pay the price for such a tragic oversight?
References & Image Credits:
(2) Discovery Health
(4) Sustainable Products
(6) Wall Street Journal
(7) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
(8) Huffington Post