Mar 30 2012
Autism affects 1 in 88 US children according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just yesterday. That number is up 25% from the CDC’s previous estimate in 2002 of 1 in 110 children developing the disorder. According to the CDC, boys are five times more likely than girls to be afflicted with autism and children with IQs above 85 are increasingly being diagnosed with it. Only 1 in 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism as recently as the early 1990s. The steadily climbing rate of the disorder has parents and public officials worried about what is causing autism, but the CDC says it cannot pinpoint a cause.
The definition of autism has expanded to include a range of behavioral disorders that fall along an autism spectrum, including Asperger’s syndrome. In Utah, the CDC found that 1 in 47 children were diagnosed with a disorder falling on the Autism spectrum, while in Alabama the rate was much lower at 1 in 120 kids. Zachary Warren of an Autism treatment and research facility at Vanderbilt University told the AP yesterday that significant disparities in rates between states may be explained by access to the health records of children in each area.
The cause of the Autism disorders is up for debate, with some arguing that genetics play a major role while others, controversially, blame childhood vaccines. But award winning journalist and E-Magazine editor Brita Belli has now detailed the links between environmental toxins and autism in a new book called “The Autism Puzzle: Connecting the Dots Between Environmental Toxins and Rising Autism Rates.” In it, Belli interprets compelling evidence that everyday exposure to environmental toxins such as flame retardants used in furniture and electronics, are linked to rising autism rates. Those same chemicals are banned in other countries.
GUEST: Brita Belli, editor of E-Magazine, author of The Autism Puzzle: Connecting the Dots Between Environmental Toxins and Rising Autism Rates, and an award winning journalist. Her blog about autism can be found online at www.autismandtoxins.com.