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10 Common Chemicals Linked to Autism and ADHD

By Aela Mass |

With autism now affecting 1 out of every 88 American children, researchers have been scrambling to understand how, in just 10 years, these numbers have jumped a staggering 78 percent, and why ADHD now affects 14 percent of children in the U.S. It was once believed that genetics was the major contributing factor to these illnesses, but that belief is quickly changing as the numbers of children diagnosed with autism and ADHD are skyrocketing. More and more, it is believed that environmental factors play more of a role in autism than genetics do.

And a team of doctors from the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center say the answer might be closer to home than we ever suspected. Here, I share the top 10 chemicals they believe are linked to autism, ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. It is surprising just how common these toxins are.

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Top 10 Chemicals Linked to Autism that are found in your household

Brominated flame retardants

Not only are flame retardants commonly used on furniture, but they're also found in certain soda and sports drinks. Mothers with high levels of these chemicals in their bodies have children with lower IQs and/or who score poorly on mental and physical development tests.
Photo: 123RF Stock Photos

Main Photo: BLW Photography

Click here for more information about the Mount Sinai Children’s Health Center study

For more information about these 10 chemicals, click here and here

See how quickly the numbers have changed and what we said about it last year

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About Aela Mass

aelahmass

Aela Mass

Aela Mass is a lesbian writer and editor living the dream on Martha's Vineyard with her wife, Sara, and their dog, Darla. She miscarried her twins at 17 weeks and has undergone numerous IVF, FET, and IUI cycles. Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post among other publications. For more of her work, visit her blog Two Moms Make a Right. Read bio and latest posts → Read Aela's latest posts →

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9 thoughts on “10 Common Chemicals Linked to Autism and ADHD

  1. Sarah says:

    PCBs = Polychlorinated Biphenyls

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Seems that the number should be 1 out of 2 children if you consider this list. The truth is that we still don’t know what causes autism and lists like these cause hysteria and induce guilt in parents whose children are affected.

  3. Rose says:

    I’m with Elizabeth. I suppose everyone’s supposed to wash their babies in pure goat milk, live in a yurt off the grid, and only play with rock. Sorry, ORGANIC rocks.

  4. Liz Ditz says:

    I recommend that readers study the article and case study at DoubleX Science by Emily Willingham, dissecting this “study”.

    http://doublexscience.blogspot.com/2012/04/science-health-medical-news-freaking.html

    What I also know is that synthetic endocrine-disruptors have been around for more than a century and that natural ones for far, far longer. Do I think that the “top 10″ chemicals require closer investigation and regulation? Yes. But not because I think they’re causative in some autism “epidemic.” We’ve got sufficiently compelling evidence of their harm already without trying to use “autism” as a marketing tool to draw attention to them. Just as a couple of examples: If coal-burning pollution (i.e., mercury) were causative in autism, I’d expect some evidence of high rates in, say, Victorian London, where the average household burned 11 tons of coal a year. If modern lead exposures were causative, I’d be expecting records from notoriously lead-burdened ancient Rome containing descriptions of the autism epidemic that surely took it over.

    Bottom line: We’ve got plenty of reasons for concern about the developmental effects of the compounds on this list. But we’ve got very limited reasons to make autism a focal point for testing them. Using the Double X Double-Take checklist helps demonstrate that.

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