Autism Linked to Chemical Toxin Exposure During Pregnancy
A number of studies have now linked autism to exposure to environmental toxins. When a baby is in the womb it is subjected to the same toxins that the mother is subjected to. The only difference is that the baby is still developing.
Toxins in autistic children
Research from the University of California at Davis found in 2012 that autism is linked with the accumulation of toxins within fat cells. This finding corresponds with previous research linking autism to immunosuppression, toxin antibodies and environmental exposures for the mother, which links to toxicity and immunosuppression.
The research, led by Paula Krakowiak, PhD, analyzed 1,000 children and found that autism was 67% more likely among children from obese mothers.
“The odds of autism and other developmental delays were significantly higher in the children of moms who were obese versus those who weren’t,” stated Krakowiak.
The study, published in the Journal Pediatrics, compared 315 normal-developing children with just over 500 children with mild to severe autism and about 170 children with other developmental disability issues.
Autism linked to toxins in other research
A 2011 study from Stanford University School of Medicine has found that autism has more to do with environmental factors that from heredity.
This has surprised some health professionals because several previous studies showed that genetic issues were the main factor.
“Autism had been thought to be the most heritable of all neurodevelopmental disorders, with a few small twin studies suggesting a 90 percent link,” UCSF geneticist Neil Risch and an author of the study told CBS News. “It turns out the genetic component still plays an important role, but in our study, it was overshadowed by the environmental factors,” he said.
The study analyzed California health records to find 192 pairs of twins where one of the twins had autism. Both children had autism in 77% of the male identical twins and 50% of the female identical twins. However, 31% of the males and 36% of the females of fraternal twins (not identical) were found in both pairs, indicating that the environment has a lot to do with it.
This confirms findings that umbilical cord testing has shown that the umbilical cord blood of many mothers is tainted by large doses of environmental toxins.
Autism has grown in frequency among children from about 1 in 10,000 to about 1 in 157 children. While some researchers speculate that much of this is accounted for by increased diagnosis, the growth in diagnosis indicates other factors.
Logically, how could heredity account for this explosion of autism? It is simply too astounding to be explained away so simply.
In 2005, the Environmental Working Group published two studies that found toxins in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies born in the U.S. After screening more than 400 chemicals, 287 toxins were found within the umbilical cord blood of newborns and their mothers. Of these 287 toxic chemicals, 217 were found to be neurotoxins, and 208 have been found to damage growth development or cause birth defects.
Which chemicals are linked the most to autism?
These chemicals included, among others:
• polybrominated and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins
• polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
• furans (PBCD/F and PBDD/F)
• perflorinated chemicals (PFCs)
• organochlorine pesticides like DDT and chlordane
• polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
• polychlorinated napthalenes (PCNs)
• polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
We have also reported research from the University of California at San Diego that found most autism forms in the womb.
In addition, Environmental Working Group research found significant toxins in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies born in the U.S. After screening for more than 400 chemicals, 287 toxins were found within the umbilical cord blood of newborns and their mothers. Of these 287 toxic chemicals, 217 were found to be neurotoxins, and 208 have been found to damage growth development or cause birth defects.
We can add to these, two studies from the California State Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology that found children with autism had increased levels of immunoglobulin-G4 (IgG4), and these IgGs matched to their mothers IgG4 levels.
High levels of IgG reveals the immune system is fighting toxins on a systemic basis. Since the infants inherited the mother’s high IgG4 levels, the mother’s toxin immunosuppression is being passed on to the infant.
Furthermore, obesity is linked with an accumulation and enlargement of adipose (fat) cells. Numerous studies have found that many environmental toxins are fat-soluble, so they tend to build up within fatty tissue.
Rates for autism have increased significantly over the past few decades, to about one in 88 children. This explosion runs parallel to increased exposures to a myriad of synthetic chemicals within our water, food, air and immediate environments.
Toxins and autism
The controversy regarding the causes of autism has reached a crescendo. We see anti-vaccine advocates saying that autism is caused by vaccination. These are pitted against the many studies showing no link between vaccination and autism. Meanwhile the amount of toxins within our foods and surroundings seems to go unnoticed.
This in the face of studies – as we’ve published – finding that the umbilical cords of a majority of mothers are strewn with sometimes hundreds of dangerous toxins.
Furthermore, many toxins within our environment – from mercury and other heavy metals to plasticizers and pesticides – are actually neurotoxic. This means that they damage brain cells and nerve cells. Autism is a neurological disorder. Do we see the connection yet?
Hallmayer J, Cleveland S, Torres A, Phillips J, Cohen B, Torigoe T, Miller J, Fedele A, Collins J, Smith K, Lotspeich L, Croen LA, Ozonoff S, Lajonchere C, Grether JK, Risch N. Genetic Heritability and Shared Environmental Factors Among Twin Pairs With Autism. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011 Jul 4.
Braunschweig D, Ashwood P, Krakowiak P, Hertz-Picciotto I, Hansen R, Croen LA, Pessah IN, Van de Water J. Autism: maternally derived antibodies specific for fetal brain proteins. Neurotoxicology. 2008 Mar;29(2):226-31.
Enstrom A, Krakowiak P, Onore C, Pessah IN, Hertz-Picciotto I, Hansen RL, Van de Water JA, Ashwood P. Increased IgG4 levels in children with autism disorder. Brain Behav Immun. 2009 Mar;23(3):389-95.