Earlier today, April 1st, 2010, the United Statements government issued a terse statement admitting that they might have caused the current autism epidemic. Speaking on behalf of the government, General Edward Nathan Vironment, had this to say about the situation - "Oops, sorry about that".
According to the statement, in the mid 1980s the US Government, in the light of the looming threat of global warming, formed a task force to investigate how to prevent the Earth from overheating. This task force consisted of officials from the armed services, NASA, and the Department of Agriculture. The task force immediately ruled out fixing the source of the problem - after all, Americans didn't want to have to change their lifestyles, they just wanted the problem to go away. So for the next several years the task force met until they finally hit on what seemed to be a good solution.
Since there was nothing that the task force could do about the actual problem, they decided instead to try to cool down the Earth instead. The plan was to spread a substance known as Floating Low Atmospheric Particles, Agent F.L.A.P for short, in the air and hope that it would reflect enough of the sun's heat to allow the Earth to stay cooler.
The plan was initially tested by releasing Agent F.L.A.P. from the ground in New Jersey. That failed to cool anything down, so the next attempt was to release the substance from helicopters over Missouri. When that the plan didn't work, the task force went to its final option and released Agent F.L.A.P over the entire continental U.S. from the space shuttle. This last step seemed to finally do the trick - although the result in the northeastern US was the blizzard of 1993.
Having successfully combated global warming without asking a single American to give up anything, the task force congratulated itself on a job well done and handled the project off to the Army and NASA to run.
And that is where the real trouble began.
The program was included as a line item in the regular budget for the Army and NASA and everyone forgot about it. But the program has been still been operating for all of these years, silently dumping an ever increasing amount of Agent F.L.A.P. into the atmosphere. That is, until earlier this year when brave soul actually read the federal budget, noticed the expense program, and investigated what was going on.
The investigation lead to an internal review by the Army and NASA and today's statements by General E.N. Vironment. According to the general, the program has "not worked exactly as planned" over the years as global warming is still a problem and, with the notable exception of the blizzard of 1993, Agent F.L.A.P. "hasn't done diddly squat" .
Expect, that is, for possibly causing autism. It seems that Agent F.L.A.P consists of 20% mercury and, in a health study conducted earlier this year by the CDC, all children exposed to the substance developed autism within a year. The CDC called this finding "not significant", pointing out that the children's autism could have been caused by something else - like space aliens.
(In the statement issued earlier today, NASA denied that space aliens exist and pointed out that none have visited lately. The Army added that the aliens were scared away by Agent F.L.A.P since they didn't want to develop autism).
However, as General E.N. Vironment said earlier today, spreading Agent F.L.A.P. over the US "might not have been the best idea" and that there "might be some small relation" between this substance and autism. The government is now launching a study, lead by Dr. Brad Iased, to take a closer look at the question. The results of this study are expected to be released in 2150, or whenever hell freezes over, which ever comes first.