ASD & Environment

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Autism Canada believes our environment may play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorders. This belief is a result of two facts:

  • Identical twins having the same genetic makeup don’t necessary both have an ASD when presented in one of the twins and to date after multiple genome studies we have not found a specific “autism gene” or set of genes.
  • The prevalence of autism is increasing according to the CDC and other regional surveillance being done in Canada.

In October of 2007, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released an online pre-publication of a workshop that took place April 18-19, 2007 called Autism and the Environment. The presentations at the workshop emphasized the urgent need to combat the growing national health crisis of autism, and focused on the mechanisms by which environmental factors such as chemicals, infectious agents, or physiological or psychological stress can affect the neurodevelopment of children. The summary listed numerous items for further research, which our federal government needs to be examining.


In 2006 the Autism Society of America (ASA) produced a special edition of Autism Advocate exploring the critical effect of environmental toxins on the incidence and treatment of individuals with autism. Click on the image below to read this Special Edition.



Dr. Martha Herbert, Pediatric Neurologist and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, explores in the article “Time To Get A Grip” does autism and the environment make sense? Click on the image below read the article.