A call to study chemicals that may cause autism


The highly respected journal Environmental Health Perspectives has made a call for more research into possible environmental causes of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders and presented a list of the top ten target chemicals which are highly likely to contribute to neurological disorders.

The list was published alongside four articles supporting a link between chemicals and autism. The articles emerged from a conference hosted by the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The National Academy of Sciences believes that as many as 3% of all neurobehavioral disorders like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be related to toxic exposures and another 25% are caused by interactions between environmental factors and genetics. The connection though is unknown and demands further research. Some research has shown a genetic predisposition for certain neurological disorders like ASD, many researchers believe there may be an environmental trigger that sets it off in some children.

“A large number of the chemicals in widest use have not undergone even minimal assessment of potential toxicity and this is of great concern,” explained Dr. Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, a world-renowned leader in children’s environmental health and Director of the CEHC. “Knowledge of environmental causes of neurodevelopmental disorders is critically important because they are potentially preventable.”

The ten chemicals they identified may be found in consumer products currently in use.
1. Lead
2. Methylmercury
3. PCBs
4. Organophosphate pesticides
5. Organochlorine pesticides
6. Endocrine disruptors
7. Automotive exhaust
8. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
9. Brominated flame retardants
10. Perfluorinated compounds

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