Of the many contributing factors to autism, toxin exposure is one of the least well understood due to the difficulty of studying it. Helping to shed more light on the topic, however, is a recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives from Harvard School of Public Health.

The scientists found that US women exposed to high levels of diesel or mercury in the air during pregnancy were up to twice as likely to have children with autism as those women living in low-pollution areas. In addition, women living in areas with the highest amounts of lead, manganese, methyl chloride, and combined metals were at a 50 percent increased risk of having a child with autism.

Air pollution has been linked to so many health conditions in adults and children. Check your local air quality index here.

“Our results suggest that new studies should begin the process of measuring metals and other pollutants in the blood of pregnant women or newborn children to provide stronger evidence that specific pollutants increase risk of autism,” noted lead author Marc Weisskopf, PhD. “A better understanding of this can help to develop interventions to reduce women’s exposure to these pollutants.”

The link between toxin exposure and autism is an important issue that has not been taken as seriously as it should be. I hope this prominent study as well as another recent study on linking toxins to autism and ADHD will help change that and lead to more research that reveals the truth that many integrative doctors have known about—and have been treating—for some time now.