Thursday, July 10, 2008

Scientific American - Investigating the Environmental Origins of Autism

In Investigating the Environmental Origins of Autism Scientific American discusses whether environmental factors might be contributing factors involved in the soaring rates of autism. While the DSM diagnostic definition changes in 1994 obviously play a significant role in increasing the number of autism diagnoses it is far from accepted that they account for all or most of the incredible rise. Not everyone is prepared to acceptl without questioning; the soothing words of anthropologist Roy Grinker that there is no autism epidemic; that definition changes and social factors offer a complete explanation for the incredible rise in autism diagnoses.

Scientific American reviews, without offering conclusions, the various environmental factors that might contribute to cases of autism from the ever contentious vaccine issue to environmental mercury, pesticides, flame retardants, chemicals in common cleaning products and even greater reliance on anti-biotics. The increased attention of researchers to possible environmental causes of autism is noted. The article mentions the possibility that autism and other conditions present in children today might be a result of "environmental assault":

“Whatever triggered this current autism epidemic...autistic kids clearly need extra protection from further environmental assault,”

- nonprofit group Healthy Child Healthy World

For far too long proponents of theories of global warming were mocked even while people like US Vice President Dick Cheney were editing out of government health agency statements scientific testimony of the health effects of global warming.

It is time we investigated possible environmental causes of autism and other possible harm to our children arising from environmental decay.

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