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Tags: autism | toxic | chemicals

10 Chemicals Linked to Autism

Monday, 30 April 2012 11:57 AM EDT

Leading health experts have identified 10 toxic chemicals “considered highly likely to contribute” to autism and learning disabilities and are calling for increased scientific research into the potential environmental causes of neurological conditions in U.S. children.
In an editorial published in the prestigious journal Environmental Health, a panel of health specialists -- including Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – said many toxic chemicals have not been sufficiently studied to determine if they pose a risk.
"A large number of the chemicals in widest use have not undergone even minimal assessment of potential toxicity and this is of great concern," said Landrigan. "Knowledge of environmental causes of neurodevelopmental disorders is critically important because they are potentially preventable."
The editorial was published along with four new studies suggesting links between toxic chemicals and autism. One study, conducted by a team at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, linked smoking during pregnancy to Asperger's disorder and other forms of high-functioning autism. Two of the studies, done by researchers at the University of California-Davis, showed PCBs disrupt early brain development. The fourth study, also by a team at UC- Davis, suggested links between pesticide exposure and autism.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, 3 percent of disorders in children, such as autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are caused by toxic exposures in the environment. Another 25 percent are believed to be caused by interactions between environmental factors and genetics. But the precise environmental causes are not yet known.
Autism is believed to strike between 400,000 and 600,000 of the 4 million children born in the United States each year.
The Children's Environmental Health Center identified 10 chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected to contribute to autism and learning disabilities: lead, methylmercury, PCBs, organophosphate pesticides, organochlorine pesticides, endocrine disruptors, automotive exhaust, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, brominated flame retardants and perfluorinated compounds

© HealthDay

Scientists identify 10 substances 'likely' to contribute to autism, call for more research into risks.
Monday, 30 April 2012 11:57 AM
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