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Autism & Toxic Chemical Exposure: What is the Relationship?

Listen to the June 7, 2011 teleconference:

Autism and Toxic Chemical Exposure: What is the Relationship?

Press Teleconference with Scientists, Parents and Chemical Policy Experts — Tuesday, June 7 — 1:30pm EST (10:30am PST)

Almost 1% of 8-year-old children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a 10-fold increase over just a 15-year period. About 30% of this dramatic rise in autism cannot be explained by changes in the age of diagnosis and the inclusion of milder cases. Meanwhile, evidence has been accumulating that lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), arsenic, toluene and other chemicals have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe.

Since 1976 when our federal chemicals law – the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — was enacted, very little data has been collected on the effects of most chemicals used widely in every day products on the developing nervous system. For most of the 3,000 chemicals produced in highest volume (over one million pounds per year), only 12 have been adequately tested for neurotoxicity.

To ensure healthy brain development for future generations and the safest, healthiest environment for current generations, TSCA must be updated to require that all existing and new chemicals are tested and shown to be safe for pregnant women, children, workers, and other vulnerable populations. Learn more about the latest science and policy proposals at this upcoming press teleconference:

WHAT: Press Teleconference on Autism & Toxic Chemicals

WHEN: Tuesday, June 7 — 1:30 – 2:30 pm EST (10:30-11:30 am PST)

HOW: Contact Shayna Samuels for more information


  • Donna Ferullo, Director of Program Research at The Autism Society, will discuss the emotional and financial toll that autism takes on families, and the urgency to phase out toxic chemicals from our environment to protect our children.
  • Irva Hertz-Piccotto, Ph.D., is Chief of the Division of Environmental Health at U.C Davis and a faculty member at the Mind Institute. She received her B.A. in mathematics, M.A. in biostatistics, and Ph.D. and M.P.H. in epidemiology from UC Berkeley. She is the co-author of The Rise of Autism and The Age At Diagnosis, a January 2009 seminal study that underscores the need for research into environmental exposures and toxic chemicals as possible contributing factors to autism.
  • Suruchi Chandra, M.D., has an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a medical degree from Yale University. She is a psychiatrist at the True Health Medical Center in Naperville, IL, guiding families through the different biomedical interventions for autism and related disorders.
  • Lisa Huguenin, Ph.D., is the mother of a 9- year- old boy with autism. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science/Exposure Measurement and Assessment from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ (UMDNJ). She has worked at both the state and federal levels in the area of occupational exposure to toxic chemicals and has taught college level classes on the subject.
  • Andy Igrejas, National Campaign Director, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, will discuss how the pending “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011” could help alleviate autism and other serious health problems on the rise.

More background on the issue can be found here.