Sunday, January 11, 2009

Autism Linked to Household Chemicals and Pesiticides


Over the past fifteen years, the number of children diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically. There were over 3,000 new cases in 2006 in California alone. Compare that with a mere 205 cases in 1990. The increases can't be explained by a change in the way that doctors diagnose the problem and leaves scientists looking at environmental factors that a fetus or infant are exposed to.

Autism is usually diagnosed in toddlers as that is when symptoms first appear. Scientists are trying to nail down the one or several changes to the environment in the past decade that would cause incidences of this brain disorder to increase. Scientists theorize that a pregnant woman's exposure to neurodevelopmental toxins like mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, lead, brominated flame retardants and pesticides accompanied by genetics accounts for the increase.

As Patricia reported, mothers of autistic children were twice as likely to have used pet shampoos with flea control. There could also be a link between the disease and phthalates, a common substance found in vinyl, shampoo and other cosmetics. Flame retardants and antibacterial soaps are also suspected culprits.There is no one culprit found to be the cause of autism so it looks like the list of things that pregnant woman are too avoid will just get longer.


  1. Wow! This is such a scary disease. It's amazing that we still don't know exactly what causes it so we can't know how to prevent it. With all the technology today and with so many people affected by it, you think we'd be a little further along in preventing this disease.

  2. I recently blogged about this same study. I agree with Irva Hertz-Picciotto, the head researcher that autism is caused by environmental factors and not just genetics. I also believe that we need more research to pinpoint exactly what in the environment is contributing to the rise.