Throughout recent discoveries it has become more apparent to doctors and parents that genetics aren’t the only cause of autism. The understanding that chemicals have a contributing role in autism rates has become more apparent.
Research led by Rowan University and Rutgers New Jersey School of Medicine suggests a popular chemical found in canned food and receipts may also hold blame for some autism cases.
“For some children, there is a link between bisphenol A (BPA) and autism,” says study coauthor T. Peter Stein, PhD, director of problem-based learning at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine.
What some governments say
A Food and Drug Administrative, and European Union, directive that children under three and pregnant women should limit their exposure to BPA, Stein notes. “This recommendation is based primarily on animal studies,” he adds. “Our study is the first study in humans to show that these reservations are justified.”.
BPA can be found in many No. 7 plastics. Research has found that plastics with the popular BPA-free chemical S (BPS) are damaging as well. BPS has also been linked to heart problems and brain damage.
Autism Research published a study linking BPA and autism. This found that links children with autism being more likely to have trouble metabolizing and eliminating BPA from the body. This suggests that there could be a relation between genetics and environment. (Researchers have also linked these other environmental factors to triggering autism.)
“It has been suspected for a lot of years that BPA is involved in autism, but there was no direct evidence,” says Stein. “We’ve shown there is a link. The metabolism of BPA is different in some children with autism than it is in otherwise healthy children.”
The latest study doesn’t specify how many children with autism have trouble-processing BPA. However, there are studies that have looked at BPA’s role with regards to autism. “This was a small exploratory study that yielded some very interesting information,” Stein says.
Throughout the study, scientists examined the urine of 46 children with autism and 52 children without autism. This study was conducted to access the concentration of BPA within the children. This showed that autistic children did not metabolize and eliminate BPA like the children without autism.
What makes BPA unique?
Children with autism tend to leave BPA unbound within the body. “Other studies involving rodent data have shown that BPA functions as an endocrine disruptor, but ours is the first to show this in humans and the first to associate it to autism,” Stein says.
Stein adds: “One implication of our study is that there might be a benefit to reducing BPA exposure for pregnant women and for children with autism.”
Avoiding BPA is easy, if you don’t eat or drink out of plastic containers, even BPA-free ones. Use a glass, stainless steel, cast-iron, enamel storage containers and cookware. Other things to avoid are canned foods and drinks, so typically use fresh or frozen when you can.
Try your best to avoid cash-register receipts; they have worrisome levels that have been shown to easily travel from the receipts to your skin.