Utah has the highest rates of autism in the nation, now one in every 32 Utah boys, double the national average.  The best current science suggests that autism is in fact rising steadily, that it is fueled by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers.   Possible environmental triggers with relevant exposure occurring either in utero or in early childhood are heavy metals, various chemical exposures like pesticides, pharmaceuticals like anti-depressants and air pollution.  Utah leaders should be approaching this as a public health emergency.  Sadly, there appears to be no interest at all in investigating or dealing with this truly devastating development that affects hundreds of new Utah children every year.

March 17, 2014  Another new study correlating environmental exposures with autism




Rzhetsky A, Bagley SC, Wang K, Lyttle CS, Cook EH Jr, et al. (2014) Environmental and State-Level Regulatory Factors Affect the Incidence of Autism and Intellectual Disability. PLoS Comput Biol 10(3): e1003518. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003518

Volk, H, Kerin T, Lurmann F,  Hertz-Picciotto, I, McConnell R, Campbell D.  Autism Spectrum Disorder: Interaction of Air Pollution with the MET Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Gene’, Epidemiology 14 November 2013 doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000030

Volk H, Hertz-Picciotto I,  Delwiche L ,  Lurmann F,  McConnell R.  Residential Proximity to Freeways and Autism in the CHARGE study.  Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Dec 13. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21156395.

Becerra T,   Wilhelm M, Olsen J, Cockburn M, Ritz B.   Ambient Air Pollution and Autism in Los Angeles County, California.  Environ Health Perspect 121:380–386 (2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205827 [Online 18 December 2012]

Andrea L. Roberts, Kristen Lyall, Jaime E. Hart, Francine Laden, Allan C. Just, Jennifer F. Bobb, Karestan C. Koenen, Alberto Ascherio, and Marc G. Weisskopf. Perinatal Air Pollutant Exposures and Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Children of Nurses’ Health Study II Participants. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2013 DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1206187

Adams J, et al.   The Severity of Autism Is Associated with Toxic Metal Body Burden and Red Blood Cell Glutathione Levels.  Journal of Toxicology Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 532640, 7 pages  doi:10.1155/2009/532640

Palmer RF et al.  Environmental mercury release, special education rates, and autism disorder: an ecological study of Texas.  Health Place. 2006 Jun;12(2):203-9.

Windham GC  et al.  Autism spectrum disorders in relation to distribution of hazardous air pollutants in the san francisco bay area.  Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Sep;114(9):1438-44.

Roberts EM et al.  Maternal residence near agricultural pesticide applications and autism spectrum disorders among children in the California Central Valley.  Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Oct;115(10):1482-9.

Palmer RF, Blanchard S, Wood R.  Proximity to point sources of environmental mercury release as a predictor of autism prevalence.  Health Place. 2008 Feb 12 [Epub ahead of print]


Written on December 17th, 2011

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