The University of California Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) has found a connection to the rising rates of autism and autism spectrum disorders with exposure to pesticides and household chemicals both before and after birth.
Irva Hertz-Picciotto and her co-author Lora Delwiche of UC Davis Department of Public Health Services began the study to test the idea that environmental factors could be part of the puzzle in the number of cases of autism and autism spectrum disorders.
“We’re looking at the possible effects of metals, pesticides and infectious agents on neurodevelopment,” Hertz-Picciotto said. “If we’re going to stop the rise in autism in California, we need to keep these studies going and expand them to the extent possible.” said Hertz-Picciotto
Hertz-Piccciotto said that the rise of autism rates in California has been seen with skepticism by many researchers, advocacy organizations and state officials. They see the increase as possibly due to families with autism moving into California, earlier diagnosis and milder forms of autism being caught earlier, then included in the rates along with lower functioning autistics as well.
The study, published earlier this year in the journal Epidemiology, found that how autism was catalogued of diagnosed in children did not explain the nearly eight-fold increase since 1990.
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