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Toxic Elements and Their Effect on Neonatal Development

Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental syndrome with onset prior to age 36 months. The global prevalence of autism spectrum disorders was estimated in 2012 to be 62 cases out of every 10,000 people, which has increased since the previous estimate in 1997 of 16 cases in every 10,000 people.1 For many, this brings up the burning question of what has caused such an exponential increase in autism?

There are a number of theories as to how autism develops and why the frequency has increased. Many environmental factors, such as maternal second-hand smoke exposure and maternal and infantile seafood consumption, have been associated with autism. It is believed, that these environmental factors play a role in ASD development due to infant toxic metal exposure.2

The potentially toxic elements chromium, copper, mercury, nickel, and lead are more prevalent in the hair of children with autism as compared to age and sex matched healthy controls. Biological damage from toxic material and increased environmental exposure at key times in development may play a causal role in the etiology of autistic disorders and potentially increases the severity of autistic symptoms.3 Aluminum is also frequently elevated in the presence of behavioural and learning disorders such as ADD, ADHD and autism. Children absorb aluminum more readily than adults and are also more sensitive to its toxic effects, exhibiting toxicity at lower levels.4

If you believe toxic element exposure may be playing a role in your loved ones’ behavioural issues, talk to your healthcare professional about testing options available.



1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology_of_autism

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3391939/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23118818

4. Cutler AH. Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities. 2004