Is there a link between autism and pollution?

Autism and PollutionApril is National Autism Awareness Month, and despite an increasing number of children being diagnosed with this mysterious and often devastating disease, medical science is still unable to pinpoint its root causes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of reported cases of autism increased by 57 percent in just four years (from 2002 to 2006). Today, one in every 110 children is diagnosed with the disorder.

Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors for autism, and there is also some evidence that certain prescription drugs, taken during pregnancy, could also increase risk for the unborn baby.

However, new autism research suggests that environmental toxicity could also be a cause.

According to a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, children of families who live near freeways are twice as likely to have autism as those who live further away from these sources of air pollution. Researchers looked at 304 children with autism and 259 children of normal development and discovered that children whose mothers lived within 1,000 feet of a freeway when they gave birth were at increased risk for autism.

Another study, published in The Lancet by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, also proposes a link between toxic chemicals and Neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. The researchers found that 202 industrial chemicals do, in fact, have the capacity to damage the human brain, and that this type of pollution may have affected millions of children worldwide.

And a third study by researchers at the University of Northern Iowa found children living within 10 to 20 miles of toxic waste sites in Minnesota to have twice the rate of autism as children living farther away.

How this autism research affects families

What can concerned parents and parents-to-be do about these finding? Unfortunately, most of us can’t always control where we live, and the reality is that there are few places on earth that aren’t affected by human-made pollutants such as mercury, lead, other heavy metals, and many kinds of naturally forming and synthetic toxic chemicals.

However, we can make a difference in our more immediate environment—the living, learning and working spaces we spend most of our time in. We may not be able to live miles away from polluting freeways, factories and industrial complexes, but we can do our best to ensure that our homes, schools and offices are oases of health and wellness.

Pollutant-free foods and water

We can make a commitment to eating healthier, organic foods that are free of chemicals, preservatives and pesticides. Choosing to go organic not only puts fewer chemicals into our bodies, it also means that fewer chemicals wind up in the environment, where they continue to affect our health adversely. We can also ensure that the water we drink is pure and clean. Depending on where you live, your drinking water could be full of chemicals, trace heavy metals and harmful bacteria. Using a filtration and ionization system like the Alkal-Life 7000sL Water Ionizer puts ordinary tap water through six levels of filtration to purify it, then uses electrolysis to alkalize it for deeper, more nourishing absorption into the human body. This results in drinking water that is absolutely free from harmful agents and capable of flushing existing free radicals from your system.

Healthier homes, schools and offices

As well as keeping our bodies chemical-free, we can be careful about introducing chemicals into the living, working and learning environments where we spend so much of our time. Be aware of the kinds of chemicals being used to clean and maintain your local schools and your own workplace. At home, switch from harsh, chemical cleaners to non-toxic cleaning products derived from natural plant and mineral sources.  For more info on safe cleaning products that we love check out

Flushing toxins from the system

Using your BioMat can also help minimize the effects of environmental pollutants on your body. Each BioMat treatment floods the body with negative ions and far infrared rays, which promotes the elimination of toxins and oxidants that can otherwise collect and cause cellular damage.

The link between autism and environmental pollutants becomes increasingly clear as researchers turn their attention towards the issue. And until legislation effects changes in the pollution levels we must live with, the responsibility lies with us to do everything we can to minimize the damage and keep our bodies healthy and resilient—for ourselves and for future generations.