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Autism Rates Rising and Pesticides

On April 30, the CDC announced that about 1.7% or 1 in 59 children were identified with autism, based on data from 11 communities in the US. Previous estimates were 1 in 150 and 1 in 68. As discussed in previous posts, greener environments are linked to less autism and the chemical Bisphenol A in pregnancy, which the FDA states is safe, is linked to increased autism rates.

A recent study involving 536 children, followed to age 14, shows an association between organopesticide exposure and autism traits, (Sharon K. Sagiv, Maria H. Harris, Robert B. Gunier, Katherine R. Kogut, Kim G. Harley, Julianna Deardorff, Asa Bradman, et al., "Prenatal Organophosphate Pesticide Exposure and Traits Related to Autism Spectrum Disorders in a Population Living in Proximity to Agriculture," Environmental Health Perspectives 126, no. 4 (April 2018): doi:10.1289/EHP2580). Having prenatal metabolites in the urine was associated with poorer social behavior, reported by both teachers and parents. In fact, a ten fold increase in the pesticide metabolites was associated with a 2.7 point increase in the parent-reported Social Responsiveness Scale.

We need to not just treat problems, but to prevent problems to begin with.