WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News

Possible Link Between Autism and Pesticides

July 31, 2007

A new study conducted by California's Department of Public Health suggests that there may be a potential link between autism and pesticides.

Health officials say it could provide hope in unraveling the mystery behind the rising cases of autism. The California Department of Public Health found pregnant women who lived closest to fields where certain pesticides were used had a greater risk of having a child with the neurological disorder.

"Their likelihood of having a child with autism was six times what it would have been expected in the general population" said Dr. Mark Horton, California Department of Public Health.

Health officials caution though, they can't make a definite link between pesticides and autism because the study was too small. But they say, with an estimated 1 in 150 children diagnosed with autism, the possibility of a link is worth exploring.

"We are at a very early stage but once again, we have a substantive hypothesis on which to base further research" said Horton.

The pesticides in question are organochlorine pesticides. They are used to control mites particularly in cotton crops. Officials say their use has been dwindling in recent years. Some autism experts are taking note even though the research is preliminary.

"Every time we get a little bit more information, we're groping less in the dark and we're getting a little bit more light at the end of the tunnel" said Dr. Martha Herbert, Mass. General Hospital.

And some experts say the final answer may reveal that there is a combination of factors leading to autism. Many experts point to genetics and the environment as the possible culprits, and they say with so many parents desperate for answers, there is no stone worth leaving unturned.

The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.


powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 8830607