What are the Environmental Triggers Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Introduction: What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact with others. There is no cure for autism, but there is treatment and help that can improve the quality of life for autistic people.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how children and adults experience the world. It can be difficult to understand someone who has autism, because they may behave in ways we don’t expect and have difficulties in understanding things we take for granted.

Definition and Symptoms:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how children and adults experience the world. It can be difficult to understand someone who has autism, because they may behave in ways we don’t expect and have difficulties in understanding things

 

The Current Research on Environmental Triggers and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Environmental triggers can be natural or artificial. These triggers can include things such as chemicals, smells, temperature, and light.

There is a lot of research being done on environmental triggers but there’s not one specific cause for autism spectrum disorder.

The current research on environmental triggers and autism spectrum disorder is relatively new and there are still many unknowns surrounding the topic. However, it is a promising area for future studies. Around 40-50% of the variation in ASD probably comes from environmental factors.

Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a spectrum of disorders, but what causes it is not yet clear. Researchers have looked at many different environmental triggers for this disorder and they’ve found some patterns. However, none of these triggers seems to be the only reason for the disorder.

Autism & Mercury

Researchers have long been studying the relationship between mercury poisoning and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Silver dental amalgams may also contribute to mercury poisoning. Mercury is also a good conductor of electricity and has been associated with increasing sensitivities to electromagnetic fields. Electro-hypersensitive individuals usually go down the path of removing silver dental fillings. A holistic dentist should remove silver dental amalgams with dental dams to prevent further poisoning from the vapourised mercury. However, it’s not a quick fix, but rather a journey as mercury detoxification takes time, and electro-hypersensitive individuals are usually working with integrative doctors or naturopaths to detoxify from mercury with a variety of binders.

Autism & Heavy Metals

According to studies, exposure to certain metals, such as lead has also been associated with ASD. Lead is a common heavy metal found in most older homes build before 1980. Lead and lead dust can occur from lead paint, lead flashings and even lead baths. Renovated homes with high levels of dust can contain lead dust. Although there were no associations of autism with hair metal concentrations of mercury, copper, cadmium, selenium, and chromium. There is an association with lead being higher in hair metal analysis. Lead is also known to be stored in bones, and leeches from bones during pregnancy, therefore possibly transferring to the womb to the unborn child. Lead is well known to delay the cognitive development of infants and children.

Autism & Electromagnetic Fields

The latest research has linked autism with increased oxidative stress and decreased glutathione levels in the brain. Researchers have also found evidence for oxidative stress-induced disruption of the blood brain barrier and mast cells activation, which could be a possible cause of an exacerbation of autism symptoms. Inflammation is a secondary outcome of oxidative stress, which can be damaging to the body. One of the many causes of oxidative stress and inflammation can be caused by electromagnetic fields (EMFs). EMFs trigger the nitric oxide-peroxynitrite-oxidative stress pathway.

Autism & Traffic-Related Air Pollution

The severity of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is often determined by the age at which symptoms emerge. It may be diagnosed earlier in life if the signs are more severe, and later in life if they are less severe.

Studies show that autism is linked to traffic-related air pollution, which may contribute to neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Traffic-related air pollution is associated with cognitive and behavior problems in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Results showed an approximate 50% risk of ASD associated with average traffic-related air pollution exposure on the child from 3 months before the pregnancy up until age two.

Take care to minimise traffic-related air pollution before you conceive and during pregnancy. Keep your exposure levels down when trying to conceive, during pregnancy, and after the baby is born.

Conclusion: What Can be Done to Minimize Environmental Exposures that can Increase the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders?

There are many environmental hazards that can increase the risk of autism spectrum disorders for infants and children. There needs to be a conscientious, precautionary approach for conceiving couples to ensure that their health and environment are taken care of before conceiving.

Mercury poisoning needs to be diagnosed by an integrative doctor or functional medicine practitioner. There are a variety of tests such as hair analysis, stool analysis, and urine analysis. Silver dental amalgams should also be removed/replaced with non-toxic amalgams.

Heavy metals detoxification is another aspect that should also be investigated with your integrative doctor or functional medicine practitioner. However, a building biologist can also be engaged to test your own home for possible sources of lead. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) lead test kits can also be purchased from Lead Safe World.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are more common in a home. Wireless routers, smartphones, tablets and even the microwave oven can all transmit wireless radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Other forms of EMFs can be magnetic or electric fields (ELF MF/ELF EF) from ovens, fridges, meter boxes, and even faulty electrical wiring. Increasing the distance from the source reduces exposure, but RF EMFs can penetrate much further than ELF MF/ELF MF. Therefore, it’s best to engage a Building Biologist to conduct EMF testing for the home, to help identify problematic areas and EMF solutions to maintain a safe environment. You can purchase an EMF meter, such as the Cornet ED88T, but you have to understand how to properly conduct EMF testing. Consumer EMF meters have limitations, usually having a single-axis antenna. Professional meters have omnidirectional antennas, tri-axis antennas, and directional antennas to accurately measure EMF exposure levels. Consumer EMF meters can over- or under-estimate the EMF exposure levels. You will also need to understand the different types of EMF and know what the typical EMF sources are. This is where it makes sense to engage a Building Biologist – their training and experience will save you time and money.

Traffic-related air pollution can impact indoor air quality depending on how close you live near high-volume vehicular traffic areas. However, internal sources can also be a problem. A diesel car in the lock-up garage connected to the home can also cause indoor air pollution. Cooking and wood combustion heating can also create air particles polluting the indoor air. Therefore, to monitor and manage the indoor air quality, it is recommended to have the Aeros Air Testing Sensor and the InovaAir Airclean Air Purifier.

Take the precautionary approach and have a safe and healthier home to live in.

 

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