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Autism Breakthrough

The rise in autism levels may well be due to heavy metals from POWER PLANTS - How do mercury emissions affect pregnant mothers, the unborn and toddlers? Do the level of emissions impact autism rates? Does it matter whether a mercury-emitting source is 10 miles away from families versus 20 miles? A new study shows that the risk of autism may be greater for children who live closer to the pollution source.

A newly published study that compares the rate of autism in Texas school districts with industrial mercury-release data shows a statistically significant link between pounds of industrial release of mercury and increased autism rates. It also shows?for the first time in scientific literature?a statistically significant association between autism risk and distance from the mercury source.

The researchers found that autism prevalence is reduced by 1% to 2% with each 10 miles of distance from the pollution source. Researcher Raymond F. Palmer says, "This study was not designed to understand which individuals in the population are at risk due to mercury exposure. However, it does suggest generally that there is greater autism risk closer to the polluting source. Ultimately, we will want to know who in the general population is at greatest risk based on genetic susceptibilities such as subtle deficits in the ability to detoxify heavy metals." In other words, the problem won't go away until we clean up heavy metal pollution in the environment.

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