This is a belated, flat-out scrape from the amazing Emily Willingham, scientist and autism parent extraordinaire. Anyone whose ears pricked up and stomach started hurting upon seeing last month's NY Times headline "Do Toxins Cause Autism?" needs to read Emily's analysis of and personal insights on the matter. Here are some excerpts, to hook you, and to make you click through to the entire post:
"...it comes as no surprise to me that mainstream science is paying attention to this potential link between these exposures and autism. A handful of chemicals--not of the kind we're passively exposed to but of the kind we take therapeutically--have already been linked to autism. These include valproic acid, which also is an endocrine disruptor.
"What we need to be careful about is talking about any links as established before the work has even been done. Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times tries to make this argument, but I'd call it a big fail from the get-go, as the headline itself is a screaming warning of "Do Toxins Cause Autism"? Aren't we just now trying to recover from the leading headlines relating vaccines to autism?"
And as someone who has seen the power of these chemicals to alter vertebrate development, I can only tell you what I do now. I do not use cosmetics, and I do not use shampoos or soaps on my children that contain phthalates, tea tree oil, or lavender oil. We do not use plastics with bisphenol A. I am careful about my purchases of fish oils and other fat-related items, checking to see if the persistent organic pollutants have been removed. I almost never microwave in plastic. [Emphasis mine -SR]