Ockham's Razor and autism: The case for developmental neurotoxins contributing to a disease of neurodevelopment
M. Catherine DeSoto
Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Baker Hall, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0505, United States
Received 16 January 2009; accepted 7 March 2009. Available online 21 March 2009.
Much professional awareness regarding environmental triggers for ASD has been narrowly focused on a single possible exposure pathway (vaccines). Meanwhile, empirical support for environmental toxins as a broad class has been quietly accumulating. Recent research has shown that persons with ASD have comparatively higher levels of various toxins and are more likely to have reduced detoxifying ability, and, that rates of ASD may be higher in areas with greater pollution. This report documents that within the state with the highest rate of ASD, the rate is higher for schools near EPA Superfund sites, t (332) = 3.84, p = .0001. The reasons for the rise in diagnoses likely involve genetically predisposed individuals being exposed to various environmental triggers at higher rates than in past generations.
Keywords: Autism; Developmental disorders; Toxins; Pollution; Heavy metals; Environmental contaminants