April is Autism Month; New Studies Look for Causes
by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff
Executive Director and CEO
Healthy Child Healthy World
On the heels of last week’s CDC report that found higher rates of autism than ever before—now affecting 1 in 88 children and representing a 78% increase in the last 10 years—a new study published last week in the journal Clinical Epigenetics is especially interesting. The study looked at how substances such as high fructose corn syrup can lead to mineral deficiencies, how deficiencies in minerals such as zinc can reduce the body’s ability to eliminate toxic substances such as mercury and pesticides, which have been linked to autism.
Another study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that obesity during pregnancy may increase a woman’s chances of giving birth to a child with autism—by about 67 percent. When asked about theories linking obesity and autism, the study’s author told The Washington Post that excess blood sugar and inflammation-related substances in the mother’s blood may damage the fetal brain.
Dioxin Drama Continues
After last month’s 21-year delayed EPA assessment of dioxin as not posing a “significant health risk,” last weeks news that the EPA has withdrawn clean up guidelines for the substance alarmed activists who warn that without guidelines, cleanup levels will vary from state to state.
Nail Polish Labeling Lies
Pregnant moms should be especially conscious of a new Department of Toxic Substances Control reporter published last week that found nail polishes labeled as “big-three free” actually contained high levels of chemicals toluene, formaldehyde and DBP which have been linked to birth defects, asthma and other illnesses, according to the Washington Post. Yet another reason to support the Safe Cosmetics Act, which would finally—finally!—establish regulation for the currently self-regulating $50 billion personal care industry.
Can Carcinogens Be Free & Gentle?
Even after more than 74,000 consumers signed a petition asking Tide to remove the carcinogenic 1,4 dioxane from its’ Free & Gentle line of laundry detergents marketed to newborns, Procter & Gamble still has not responded. We stepped up pressure by working with Women’s Voices for the Earth to organize a Social Media Day of Action on Friday, in which 307 people posted messages on Tide’s Facebook wall with the message to get the cancer-causing chemical out of their detergent; we’ll deliver a letter to the company today, signed by groups including Breast Cancer Fund, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and Health Care Without Harm. Meanwhile, we’re just about 500 signatures away from our goal of 75,000. Have you signed on yet?
Party Week Deadline
This community is inspired! More than 3,000 participants have signed on to be part of National Healthy Child Party Week May 5-12. Today is the LAST day to order a kit in time for the week. But the story’s not over: We’re making more kits so that 5,000 can participate in the month of May. Please join us in hosting a party that will change the world!
Earth Day Expands
Three cheers for Earth Day! The April 22nd celebration that became official in the U.S. in 1970 is now celebrated by 175 countries, according to Hudson Valley Magazine. How will you celebrate?