Autism and Environmental Toxins

November 30, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
Los Angeles, Calif., November 30, 2007 - There is now increasing evidence the world over that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is currently on the rise. As of 2007, there are over 1.5 million diagnosed cases of ASD, a staggering 1 in every 150 persons, reported in the United States alone. If the rates of these disorders continue to increase, it is conceivable that the number of autistic children in America could reach 4 million in the next decade. Current scientific research indicates that there may be an association between known neurotoxins methyl mercury (coal burning power plants) and ethyl mercury (thimerosal, a preservative found in vaccines) and autism.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 48 tons of toxic methyl mercury (a known neurotoxin by-product) from burning coal is emitted annually from 1,300 power plants in 45 states in the United States. Toxic mercury emitted into the air, soil, and food chain from coal-fired power plants could prove to be a key factor in developmental disabilities manifesting in the present increase in autism.

Joanne Lara, M.A, stated: “There is increasing evidence that our environment may play a key role in the increasing cases of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). And furthermore, that if we neglect to demand that our governments rid our environment of toxic waste in the form of PCB’s, dioxin, toxic mercury and over 80,000 other known chemical toxins, with that number increasing daily, that we are exposed to on a daily basis, then our future generations are certain to reap the neurological repercussions that could possibly ensue.”

Toxins are defined as a poisonous substance, a protein that is produced by living cells or organisms and is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), defines dioxin, the general term describing a group of hundreds of “at serious risk to public health” chemicals, as a family of toxic chemicals that share a chemical structure and a common mechanism of toxic action. Such dioxin’s include chlorine by-products of waste incineration, chemical and pesticide manufacturing, pulp and paper bleaching, manufacturing of molding, electronics, and the burning of organic chemicals and plastics containing chlorine.

Dioxin was the primary component of Agent Orange, a major herbicide used during the Vietnam War. Dioxin exposure has been linked to birth defects, learning disabilities, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm count, endometriosis, diabetes, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels and numerous other health problems.

Research indicates that toxins may be stored in our DNA cell structure and that they may possibly be passed on to future generations. A chemical compound of rocket fuel was recently found in high levels in the breast milk of young women in Texas. Additional studies indicate that toxins are being passed onto the embryo in the pre-natal gestation period.

Joanne Lara warns: “Autism is a neurological impairment manifesting in varying degrees of brain and compromised auto immune system impairment. With ever increasing numbers of children being born the world over with autism, we cannot afford to ignore the fact that toxins from our environment may be a contributing factor.”

About Joanne Lara, M.A.
Joanne Lara earned her M.A. in Special Education, Moderate/Severe & Multiple Disabilities at California State University, Northridge and has a B.A. in Dance from the University of South Florida. She has a California Mod/Severe Education Specialists K-12 teaching credential and taught for over 10 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District, working exclusively with students with autism. Ms. Lara is the founder of Autism Movement Therapy®, a successful innovative movement and music strategy technique integrating movement and music to unlock and increase communication skills and cognitive awareness in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Ms Lara lectures at conferences throughout the US and is on the faculty in the Special Education Department at National University in Sherman Oaks, Ca.

Contact: Dirk Foster
SparksFly Public Relations
(323) 404-6957

# # #