In the quest to learn why autism rates in this country are rising dramatically, we have to look at the environmental health of our communties and chemical load that is being placed on our children. I recently wrote over at Non-Toxic Kids about the new link between PVC flooring and autism. Cate Nelson also wrote about this issue for Eco-Child’s Play last week.
Today, I came across this article in posted on Environmental Health News, about the link between autism and toxic waste sites.
This particular study looked at students within in a 10 to 20 mile radius of Supefund sites in Minnesota. The article defines Superfund sites as, “toxic waste sites designated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as hazardous for human health. Among the pollutants frequently found at the sites are chloroethelyenes, benzene and metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, chormium, arsenic).”
Just reading that list makes me shudder. And it makes me remember all my ecology classes: we are all interconnected, our soil, water, land, and air. These are heavy duty pollutants that are making their way into our children.
In the study, published by Nuerotoxicology, researchers found when comparing students from schools within 10-20 miles from a toxic site and students from schools that were no where near toxic sites: “Rates of the disorder were one and a half times higher in the districts within 10 miles of the toxic sites. That translates into 1 child in 92 in districts closer to the sites compared to 1 child in 132 in the districts farther away. Schools within a 20-mile radius of Superfund sites had similar autism trends as the schools with 10 miles of the sites.”
This is another important study that should set off major research into the link between toxic chemicals and metals in our environment and how they effect growing children. We’ve got to fit these puzzle pieces together to better protect our children from autism and other disabilities.
image: 2: Discarded toxic waste by The Sierra Club on Flickr under Creative Commons