In a New Years day media briefing the CDC has explained that its latest autism prevalence data, released two days before Christmas this year, and showing a sharp rise in ASD, short for Autism Social Difference, diagnoses, from 1 in 75 in 2012 to the current estimate of 1 in 50, is probably due to diagnostic definition changes and increased awareness.
New CDC Director Arnie Newman, who is himself "on the spectrum" with an ASD diagnosis of Asperger Social Difference, says that some tiny, insignificant part of the increase could theoretically be due to environmental factors. Dr. Newman also noted we are all fortunate to be living in the Acceptance Era when offensive terms like "Disorder" and "Disability" have been replaced by the enlightened concept of "Difference".
In what it repeatedly emphasized was a totally unrelated development the CDC also finally released its Sixth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. The report is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the exposure of the U.S. population to chemicals in our environment. CDC has measured 2120 chemicals in people's blood or urine—750 of which have never before been measured in the U.S. population.
We now know that there are lots of environmental chemicals in our bodies said Dr. Newman but we should not assume that they cause any harm. Dr. Newman stated in closing that the CDC long term study plan projections for the year 2025 include the possibility of examining the effects, if any, of such chemicals on the developing neurological systems of fetuses and young children. Such a study is definitely, or at least probably, on our list of possible future research priorities said Dr. Newman.