Washington, DC – Today, the Centers for Disease Control updated its estimate of autism incidence in this country to an eye-popping 1 in 88 (from 1 in 110). While the exact causes of autism remain unknown there is substantial evidence implicating environmental contaminants including chemicals. This evidence was best summarized by Dr. Phil Landrigan, Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Mt Sinai School of Medicine in his peer-reviewed 2010 paper, "What causes Autism? Exploring the environmental contribution."
Since then a 2011 Stanford University study of twins – the largest ever- implicated environmental factors for 57% of autism cases. Current policy at the federal level does not require chemicals to be evaluated for neurotoxicity (or any other health effect) and many known neurotoxins are used in commerce today. The CDC's chemical "biomonitoring" program has identified neurotoxins among the industrial chemicals it has detected as widespread in average Americans.
Responding to the announcement, Andy Igrejas, Director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, said,
"Autism already takes an enormous toll on American families so it is bad news, indeed, that it is getting worse. As evidence accumulates that unregulated chemicals contribute substantially to autism, chemical policy reform becomes even more of a moral imperative. This spring the US Senate can help alleviate the problem by passing the Safe Chemicals Act, which would, for the first time, create an orderly process for identifying the chemicals that contribute to conditions like autism and apply appropriate restrictions."
Stanford University Study on Twins: http://med.stanford.edu/ism/2011/july/autism.html
What causes autism? Exploring the Environmental Contribution: http://www.saferchemicals.org/pdf/landrigan-what-causes-autism.pdf
CDC Study: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/CountingAutism/