Autism and the Environment Protecting our Children

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Autism and Environment
Protecting our Children
Autism One May 28 2009
Norman W. Schwartz, MD
Medical Director The Center for Integrative Medicine Milwaukee, Wisconsin Fellow, Health Studies Collegium
Opinions about obviousness are to a certain extent a function of time.
Albert Einstein
Once believed to be True The world is flat. Children should be seen and not heard. Woman aren’t logical enough to vote. Autism is genetic.
"It's time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California.’’
“No nation is any healthier than its children.”
Harry Truman (1884-1972) 33rd President of USA
Burden & Health Children are not Little Adults Environment & Autism Toxicity & Cellular Dysfunction What We Can Do: Cautionary Principle in practice
Body Burden
An Epidemic of Epidemics
287 chemicals detected in umbilical cord blood: 180 cause cancer in humans or animals 217 CNS & neurotoxins 208 cause birth defects or abnormal animals
Human Development-Incredible and with Critical Windows
Developmental Toxicity Testing of 2,863 Chemicals Produced > 1 million pounds/year
Some Data
On Developmental Toxicity
12 Tested for Neurodevelopmental Toxicity by EPA Guidelines
No Data
On Developmental Toxicity
In Harm’s Way,
•85,000 chemicals in Federal inventory •2,000-3,000 new chemicals introduced each year •3-5 billion tons/yr
An Old Nemesis
Photograph by Peter Essick
Lead paint chips speckle the gut of a two-year-old Cleveland girl. Phased out decades ago, lead paint is still injuring children who swallow it.
By David Ewing Duncan
Photographs by Peter Essick
“Earth at the Tipping Point”
UN Report: Ecosystem damage is so severe that we can no longer be confident that Planet Earth can support human life for more than two generations.
Four main findings on the links between ecosystems &human well-being: More... 10.1Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems faster &more extensively than in any period in human history. This has been due largely to rapidly growing demands for food, freshwater, timber, fiber, & fuel. The result has been a substantial & largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth. More... 10.2 The changes made to ecosystems have contributed to substantial gains in human well-being & economic development, but these gains have been achieved at growing costs. These costs include the degradation of many ecosystem services, increased risks of abrupt changes, & increased poverty for some groups of people. These problems, unless addressed, will substantially reduce the benefits that future generations get from ecosystems. 10.3 This degradation of ecosystem services could get significantly worse during the next 50 years. It is a barrier to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. 10.4 Reversing the degradation of ecosystems while meeting increasing demands for their services is a challenge. This challenge can be partially met in the future under scenarios involving significant changes to policies, institutions, & practices. However, these required actions will have to be substantial when compared to the actions currently taken.
Declining Male Birth Rates A Reality
Goodbye, girls
Bisphenol A: How could we?
Flame retardant found in peregrine falcon eggs
Jane Kay, Thursday, May 8, 2008 San Francisco Chronicle
“This is a red flag, the impact of this class of chemicals, whose toxicity has been under-appreciated, must be studied in human populations, and fast.” M.M. Merzenrich
Perinatal Exposure to Low Level PCB’s Alters Wiring of Primary Auditory Cortex
Normal Response
Kenet, T. et al. (2007) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104, 7646-7651
Perninatal PCB
Perinatal PCB 23
Copyright ©2007 by the National Academy of Sciences
nature neuroscience • volume 3 no 12 • december 2000
The cause of PD is unknown, but epidemiological studies suggest an association with pesticides and other environmental toxins, and biochemical studies implicate a systemic defect in mitochondrial complex I. ...chronic, systemic inhibition of complex I by the pesticide, rotenone, causes highly selective nigrostriatal dopaminergic degeneration that is associated behaviorally with hypokinesia and rigidity. These results indicate that chronic exposure to a common pesticide can reproduce the anatomical, neurochemical, behavioral and neuropathological features of PD.
First It Was Bees
Now It's Bats That Are Dying
Childhood Cancers: Ages 0-14, 1971–2001
70% 60%
All leukemia Up 32% ALL Up 53% Soft tissue cancers Up 32% Brain tumors Up 63% Bone cancers Up 32% Kidney cancer Up 26%
50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
All leukemia
Acute lymphocytic leukemia
Soft tissue Brain tumors Bone cancers cancers
Kidney cancer
Source: National Cancer Institute, SEER Statistics site
Children are not Little Adults Or Little Canaries
Canary in a Coal Mine Canary in a Coal Mine
Mobile Phone Use While Pregnant May 'Seriously Damage Baby,' Study Says Monday , May 19, 2008 Scientists found that mothers who did use the handsets were 54 per cent more likely to have children with behavioural problems and that the likelihood increased with the amount of potential exposure to the radiation
Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders
High-confidence Conclusions Alcohol Solvents Lead Mercury PCBs Fluoride PBDEs Pesticides Arsenic Manganese PAHs Additives Endocrine disruptors Nicotine environmental tobacco smoke
 Children
are more vulnerable to toxins  Boys more vulnerable than girls  Multiple sources of toxins in environment, synergistic effects, hormesis  Increasing body burden is a reality  Multiple factors determine susceptibility to toxins  Epidemiology and case reports link autism and toxins  Need individualized assessment and treatment
Environment and Autism
The autism epidemic is alerting us to the importance of individual susceptibility to environmental pollutants. Environmental safeguards that protect a theoretical average person still leave thousands at risk. Increased understanding of susceptibility will provide the basis of stronger health policy that truly protect the most vulnerable.
Richard Wiles Environmental Working Group
Autism and the Environment Workshop
Toxic Metals
 Uncouple
Metabolic Pathways  Immunotoxins Autoimmunity  Enzyme Inhibitors  Pro-oxidants  Bioconcentrate  Increased adverse effects with mineral deficiencies  Proportionally greater effect in children

EPA estimates 1 in 6 children ( ~630,000 per year) at birth have an unsafe blood levels of mercury [Mahaffey, 2004]. Levels are high enough to cause a decline in IQ at an estimated annual cost of $8.7 billion [Trasande, 2005] Developing fetal brain is more susceptible to damage by mercury when compared to the adult brain [Clarkson, 2002], even moderate doses cause extensive brain damage and mental retardation [Bertossi, 2004] No “level of exposure that is convincingly harmless— especially to the developing fetus” [Cranmer , 1996]

Autism from Mercury
“We have reanalyzed the data set originally reported by Ip et al. in 2004
and have found that the original p value was in error and that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Moreover, the hair sample analysis results offer some support for the idea that persons with autism may be less efficient and more variable at eliminating mercury from the blood.”
Autism from Lead
Health Place. 2006 Jun;12(2):203-9.
Findings: For every 1000 pounds of mercury that is emitted from Texas smokestacks there is a 61% increase in Autism rates.
Association between autism rates, environmental mercury, other toxins in Texas
Palmer, et al., Health and Place 2006 Jun;12(2):203-9 For each 1000 lb of environmentally released mercury, there was a 43% increase in the rate of special education services and a 61% increase in the rate of autism.
For every 10 miles from industrial or power plant sources, there was an associated decreased autism Incident Risk of 2.0% and 1.4%, respectively
RESULTS: Multivariate models comparing children of mothers living within 500 m of fields with the highest quartile of organo-chlorine poundage to mothers not living near fields- odds ratio for ASD of 6.1. (28% of moms) ASD risk ↑with the poundage of organochlorine applied and↓ with distance from field sites. CONCLUSIONS: Residential proximity to organochlorine pesticide applications during gestation and ASD among children should be 51 further studied.
POPs-Persistant organic pollutants

Ex: Phthalates, Pesticides, Herbicides, Bisphenol A, PCB, PCBD, DDT
Used in flexible plastics, cosmetics, perfumes, food Found in breast milk, cord blood, infants, children and adults
   
Endocrine Disruptors- mimic natural hormones, alter cells signals, feeback control Extremely long half life up to 15 years, substances banned in 70’s still present Long term adipose tissues storage, difficult to detox No safe levels, biologic effects at pp trillion DNA damage Epigenetic effects by altering methylation patterns which are inheritable Injure developing nervous system Carcinogenic Gender bending chemicals Alter brain structure, neurochemistry, behavior, reproduction and immune response in animals Damage sperm and cause genital malformations Precocious Puberty Allergies, Asthma, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Thyroid disease 52 Autism increasing evidence
November 29, 2000 Superfund Site Assessment Branch Division of Health Assessment and Consultation Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry See Mark Blaxill WHAT DID THE CDC KNOW AND WHEN DID THEY KNOW IT? AGE OF AUTISM http://www.ageofautis did-the-cd.html
Appendix A: Contaminants of Concern
Acetone 1,000ppb Anthracene 3,000ppb Arsenic 3ppb Benzene 1ppb Benzo(b)flouranthene (PAH) 0.2ppb Benzo(a)pyrene (PAH) 0.005ppb Benz(a)anthracene (PAH )2,800ppb Bis-phthalate 6,000,00 ppb Bromoform 4ppb Butyl benzyl phthalate 2,000ppb Cadmium 5ppb Carbon tetrachloride 0.3ppb Chlordane 0.6ppb Chlorobenzenes 100ppb Chloroform 6ppb Chromium 100ppb Copper 100ppb DDT 5ppb Di-n-butyl phthalate 1,000ppb Dibenzo(a,h)anthracene 1,2-Dichlorobenzene 1,4-Dichlorobenzene Dichloroethanes 1,1-Dichloroethene 0.3ppb 600ppb 75ppb 0ppb 0.06ppb Dioxin (2,3,7,8 TCDD) Endosulfan 20ppb Ethyl benzene Flouranthene PAH) Heptachlor Heptachlor epoxide Hexachlorocyclohexane alpha 0.006ppb .00001ppb 700ppb 400ppb 0.008ppb 0.004ppb 0.02ppb beta0.02ppb gamma0.4ppb 0ppb 2ppb 5ppb 20ppb 100ppb 0.02ppb 300ppb
Lead Mercury MCLMethylenechloride Naphthalene Nickel PCB's Pyrene(PAH) Silver 50ppb Tetrachloroethylene(PCE)0.7ppb Toluene 200ppb 1,1,1-Trichloroethane 200ppb 1,1,2-Trichloroethane 0.6ppb Trichloroethylene 20ppb 54 Vinyl Chloride 0.2ppb
Isaac Pessah PhD, Center for Children’s Environmental Health, The M.I.N.D Institute, Univ of Calif, Davis
So to me, the issues autism raise
-- about the health and well-being of this and future generations, about the role that planetary pollution, chemical inventions and medical interventions may have inadvertently played in triggering it -- are so fundamental that by looking at autism, we're looking very deeply into the kind of world we want to inhabit and our children to inherit.
Dan Olmstead
Environmental Exposures
Old Thinking:  Single agent, threshold of toxicity- “no evidence of significant toxicity at levels found in this study...” New Thinking:  Very low doses can have multiple effects from altered gene expression, disruption in cell signaling, hormone mimics  Real life exposures are complex mixes of chemicals that interact with ? results  Genetic variations-more susceptible subgroups  Children not little adults, more susceptible
Toxicant Convergence Cellular Dysfunction
Total glutathione levels were 46% lower and oxidized glutathione was 72% higher in children with autism
Many environmental toxicants are potent pro-oxidants
Environmentally relevant levels of toxicants make cells more oxidized in precisely the range that alters the response to the environmental signals, with variable consequences: • Cell division is suppressed • Cells are made more vulnerable to inducers of cell death Cell regulation is altered

Mark Noble, University of Rochester Medical Center Used with Permission
Biochemical Abnormalities in ASD
 Oxidative
Stress  Folate cycle  Methylation  Sulfation  Citric acid cycle  Amino acids  Fatty Acids  Carbohydrate  Carnitine  Creatine  Porphyrins
 Lipids  Phospholipids  Fungal
metabolites  Bacterial metabolites  Neurotransmitters  Ammonia  Ketosis  Neopterin/biopterin  Nutrient Deficiencies  Taurine  Histidine
Altered in Autism
abnormal abnormal abnormal abnormal abnormal abnormal abnormal abnormal abnormal
Citric Acid Cycle Disrupters Heavy metals Pesticies abnormal Chemicals Nutrient Deficiencies abnormal Glutathione Deficency Oxidative Stress Mitochondrial Dysfunction
What We Can Do
Precautionary Principle
“When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be take even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” Wingspread Conference, 1998
All Things are Bound Together
Other species are our kin. This statement is literally true in evolutionary time. All higher eukaryotic organisms, from flowering plants to insects and humanity itself, are thought to have descended from a single ancestral population that lived about 1.8 billion years ago…All this distant kinship is stamped by a common genetic code and elementary features of cell structure.”
Edward O. Wilson
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
Chief Seattle
Philly First In The Nation To Require Mercury Disclosures Requires dentists to distribute patient brochures disclosing the dangers of silver amalgam fillings."The textbooks don't tell us this," said Charlie Brown, spokesman for the CDC (Consumers for Dental Choice.) "It is absurd to think nothing is damaged when a neurotoxin is placed an inch from someone's brain."
Walmart to Stop Selling Baby Bottle w BPA Toys R’ Us to Stop Selling Toxic Toys
Canada first to label bisphenol A as officially dangerous Would pave way for a federal ban ENVIRONMENT REPORTER April 15,2008
Detoxification: Staying Resilient in an Intoxicated World
 Antioxidant:neutralize
free radicals  Metalothionein: natural chelator, in health produced in abundance; nutritional deficits or distress depleted  Liver: 2 step process detoxification. transforms toxins to facilitate elimination  Bile: eliminates fat-soluble toxins, needs fiber  Low temperature saunas: 105-110ºF  Hair, fingernails, skin
Detoxification Limitations
 Exposure
exceeds capacity  Persistent low levels, unknown exposures  Long half lives=bio-accumulate body & biosphere  Bio-accumulate in particular body tissues,  Inability to break down toxins, impaired detoxification competences  Mineral & nutrient deficiencies  Genetic, epigenetic or attitudinal variations.
          
Choose fresher, unprocessed, whole foods grown to vine ripeness. Local organic and biodynamic when possible. High fiber foods help remove toxins. Glass containers preferred for storage. Detox Foods- cruciferous veggies, ginger, garlic, onions Honey, stevia, agave, raw maple syrup and raw honey are preferred sweeteners. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Avoid artificial sweeteners, corn sweeteners, colorings preservatives, plastic containers, and irradiated foods. Avoid excitotoxins- glutamate, sulfites, nitrites, propionate Be aware of phenols- bananas, apples, grapes, berries Be aware of excess copper – water, nuts, chocolate
Pure Water
 Pure
water is essential; dehydration hinders the body’s ability to eliminate waste and keep resilient; pesticide levels, heavy metals, hormone residues, volatile organic compounds fluoride more important than bacteria
Clean Air
 Use
fresh flowers, natural oils  Avoid air fresheners, sprays, perfumes, cleaning agents, new paints, new carpets, flea treatments, insecticides, furniture chemicals  Check for CO output in gas appliances
Toxic Metal Sources
• Lead: toys, vinyl , food, houses built before late 70’s • Mercury- amalgams, vaccines, breathing- power plants incinerators • Aluminum- cookware, deodorants, baking soda, cans,
foil • Fluoride- tootpaste, water, treatments
• No phthalates , bisphenols, wraps • No microwaving • Use glass
Plastics- Avoid
• Cotton clothes • Cleaning products, natural, biodegadeable • Herbicide pesticides free; minimal perfumes, chemicals • Arsenic in treated wood , chlorine from pools • Flame retardants in clothing, fungicides in bedding • Persistent organic pollutants in carpets
 Avoid
Tylenol , use botanicals or Motrin (Advil)  Antibiotics  Beware of increased sensitivity to medications
Pregnancy Precautions
 Assess
metal burden before becoming pregnant  Remove amalgams before getting pregnant  Minimize dental work while pregnant  Supplement: calcium, vit D folic acid, omega3’s, multivitamin/minerals, iodine  Avoid seafood, low allergy diet  Daily multivitamin and iodine supplementation  Avoid flu shots/thimerosal  Breast feeding- test for heavy metals  Adequate sleep, relaxation, exercise, pure water
Pregnancy Precautions
 Whole
organic foods, fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods, alkaline diet  Minimize sugar, MSG (crosses placenta), aspartame , processed foods, hydrogenated oils and margarine  No smoking, drugs, minimal alcohol and caffeine  Extra effort to void toxins-cosmetics, food, water,environment  Nutritional support- antioxidants C,E, carotene, carotenoids, mixed tocopherols, flavonoids; methylation- Folic acid, B12, B6; sulfationginger, onions, garlic, brassica, epsom salt baths 81
The information on the following slides provided courtesy of Stu Freedenfeld MD Please see his excellent web site for more details and information:
Household and Personal Care Searchable index for product safety information Personal and house care Skin , personal care Cleaning products Paper, cleaning products Household and personallcare Source of non-toxic art supplies Baby bottles, sippy cups Toys, child needs Clothing and bedding Bedding and mattresses
Green Lawns- Safe Neighborhoods
Insect control: Insecticidal soap, diatomaceous earth, and neem products. Insects are vital and killing agents are not selective. Weed control: Corn gluten, hot water and vinegar, pull the weeds, or just leave them be and relax Fungicide alternatives: Sulfur, baking soda, certain copper products and avoid over watering.
Green Lawns-Safe Neighborhoods Lawn and garden products Also a resource for garden questions. non-toxic solutions to garden and indoor plant questions. Information on dangers of pesticides and safe alternatives Safety information of specific pesticides
Natural Insect Repellants
Neem oil can be taken orally as a mosquito repellant. (Ayush Herbs, ) Thiamin 100mg/d may deter mosquitoes. Topicals: 2% soybean oil, Vick’s Vapo Rub, pure vanilla extract (1:1 with water), cinnamon oil, oil of lemon eucalyptus. Enzyme shampoos to get rid of fleas and lice and spray house with 50/50 vinegar and water enzyme products for lice, scabies and crabs
Natural Insect Repellants
Cockroaches: spread bay leaves and sprinkle a fine dusting of baking soda and boric acid Ants: Sprinkle black pepper, chili powder or chalk and brush lavender and olive oil on trails. Moths: Cedar chips and lavender oil Mice and rats: Lavender oil, cedar oil or camphor will repel them. Trade products include Ambermin’s Natural Source Bug Repellent, Gone (insect detergent spray), All Terrain Herbal Armor Insect Repellant, Buzz Away, BiteBlock and Outdoor Herbal Spray
Environmentally Friendly Products green dry cleaning green dry cleaning local recycling centers including fluorescents info mailing used fluorescent bulbs Note: Home Depot will recycle fluorescent bulbs
Whole Foods national listing of farmers' markets. local sources of sustainably grown food online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs, US & Canada Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSA’s) Weston A. Price Foundation interactive web site to find local farmers, markets, CSA’s near you
Whole Foods vegetarian basics info on raw milk: healthy food markets, farms and restaurants by zip code local organic farms farmers markets and restaurants s guide to Pesticides in Produce
EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) Information water safety, contaminants, qualified labs reports contaminants in major cities fact sheets on common contaminants Physicians for Social Responsibility info water and health Laboratory testing:
Resources non-toxic cleaning kit home made cleaning products tests on water filter’s performance guide to common water filters info on filtration technologies tests of several hundred bottled water brands
Resources Union of Concerned Scientists info on plastics Info persistent organic pollutants www.hardwoodinstaller/finishes-water.htm info on green building supplies reusable diapers test kits for lead, cadmium, mercury, 93 arsenic, nickel and chromium
Autism as a Wake-up Call
The rise in autism diagnoses, along with the rise in other immune and chronic illnesses, is really a wake-up call. Put alongside the warnings about the ecological instability of our planet, it shows that our situation is serious. It calls for pulling out all the stops and throwing our best intelligence, resources and organization into getting a grip. Autistic individuals may not be “different” from the rest of us but simply “more sensitive” to environmental injury—they may be the “canaries in the coal mine” warning us of impending greater disaster. If the level of environmental insults continues to rise, more children and more adults—and more of life on earth will experience harm.
Martha Herbert
What we can Do
Push for research into environmental causes of epidemics. Ask your representative for investments into research that will look for fundamental causes of autism. Tell everyone about MIND institute study. Call in talk shows. It is time to put our health and the environment in the dialogue. Use the information in this presentation as a fact sheet. Network with parents, talk to everyone we know about the causes of why their child is ill.
What we can do
Love your children like the whole world depended on it. Fight for the rightful world that is theirs. Work with biomedical practitioners Keep the faith, many children do get better
If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
African Proverb Together, we know enough…to mitigate, remediate, and prevent the epidemics of autism, chronic illness and lack of wellness. If not now, when? Thank you
Norm Schwartz MD Center for Integrative Medicine Milwaukee, Wisconsin 262 240-0133
Additional Sources of Information
     
Changing the Course of Autism, Bryan Jepson MD Healing the New Childhood Epidemics, Ken Bock MD Children with Starving Brains, Jaquelyn McCandless MD Special Diets for Special Kids, Lisa Lewis Evidence of Harm, David Kirby Websites
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Environmental Groups
           
Save our kids, heal our planet. Collaborative on Health and the Environment: Institute for Children’s Environmental Health: We Can Solve the Climate Crisis: Environmental Health News: Our Stolen Future: Pesticide Action Network: Coming Clean: Natural Resources Defense Council: Beyond Pesticides: Greenpeace Chemical Kitchen: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow 99