A Swedish study found that the rate of autism is higher for children in houses that have PVC vinyl flooring. The children in the study were apparently affected by the phthalates that are emitted from the material.
Infants and toddlers who had vinyl floors in their rooms were twice as likely to develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than those with wood or aluminum floors.
The PVC floors were one of four links the researchers discovered. The other three are maternal smoking, poor ventilation, and family financial stress. The children with ASD were also more likely to have asthma.
As you may remember, back in January a study by UC Davis said that the 7- to 8-fold increase in the cases of ASD could not be attributed to better detection. Rather,
It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism.
This would be one of those environmental factors, no?
As an answer to this study, the Center for Health, Environment, & Justice is mounting a campaign to remove the chemical-laden flooring from schools. Of course, we should also hope they’re removed from daycares and other early childhood facilities.
Researchers also say that this “baffling” link should be studied further. These results are far from conclusive.
The asthma-phthalate link has certainly been demonstrated in studies before. This PVC-autism link surely warrants more investigation as part of a broader look into the numerous environmental factors for ASD.
The study is published in the journal Neurotoxicology.
Image: danielle_blue on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.