What Causes Autism? Environmental Chemicals are Playing a Large Role!

May 4, 2012

Non-Stick Pan

Dr. Phil Landrigan, a professor and the chair of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School, in New York, has released a list of environmental chemicals known to be contributors to the epidemic of autism and other neuro-developmental disorders.  His list was published in an article in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, but you can view a concise slideshow and write-up of his findings on Rodale News.  The slideshow also gives helpful hints as to how to avoid these toxins.  If you have been reading the articles here at Non-ToxicNurse.com you have already heard of some of the dangers of these substances.

Here is the list of toxins identified in Landrigan’s article, along with some of the household and personal care items in which they lurk:

  • Lead:  paint, artificial Christmas trees, Christmas tree lights, electrical cords, plumbing, faucets, dishes, pottery, keys, cheap jewelry
  • Methylmercury:  large fish, dental fillings (according to some experts, after metal mercury is methylated in the body)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls:  unfortunately these devils are pervasive throughout our environment, despite being outlawed–eating lower on the food chain (i.e., lots of veggies) and knowing your farmer can help you avoid these
  • Organophosphate pesticides:  commonly used on conventionally grown produce–buy organic!
  • Organochlorine pesticides:  commonly used on conventionally grown produce–buy organic!
  • Endocrine disruptors:  pervasive in conventional household products and personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, cleaners, and air fresheners–buy non-toxic!
  • Automotive exhaust:  obviously anywhere there are vehicles–avoid letting children play near highways and avoid buying a home near a major highway
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons:  burned food, coal tar driveway sealant, dandruff shampoo, cigarette smoke, mothballs
  • Brominated flame retardants:  conventional mattresses, conventional boxsprings, carpet padding, upholstered furniture, practically every household item made of polyurethane foam, children’s pajamas, Mountain Dew soda, Gatorade, Powerade, and any other beverage that lists BVO (brominated vegetable oil) as an ingredient
  • Perfluorinated compounds:  non-stick cookware, Scotchguard and other stain treatment formulas, waterproof clothing–just say “NO!” to stain treatments in your home and replace all cookware with stainless steel, glass (e.g., “Visions”), or American manufactured cast iron

In addition to being known players in epidemics of autism and other neuro-developmental disorders, the environmental chemicals listed above also play large parts in many other chronic diseases of both childhood and adulthood.  Their renewed implication in autism and other neuro-developmental disorders in Landrigan’s article is just one more reason to avoid them.

Please take the time to review Landrigan’s work, via the article and slideshow, and start eliminating these toxins from your life as soon as possible!  If you are overwhelmed or confused about where to start, please remember that I have listed the safer products that my family has used and liked in my Nurse’s E-Shoppe.  Part of my goal for this site is to take some of the pain out of switching to less toxic household and personal care products.  If it is listed in my Nurse’s E-Shoppe, you can rest assured that either I or my husband tried it, and that it did the job for us.  I will review the products in a detailed manner, one-by-one, as life allows.




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