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San Antonio Current: “Autism rates are booming”

May 02

Notice the odd use of “booming” in the headline. Booming? —that usually means “increasing successfully”….dahhhh…

This piece describes a nightmare in the making.

They’re looking at toxins, at mercury…etc, but NOT vaccines,  of course!! They know it’s coming. They know it’s going to be bad.

But hey, they  just don’t know why it’s happening….and “autism rates are booming.”

New federal data shows autism rates are booming. Local researchers are finding industrial chemicals may play a role  HERE

Today it’s hard to find a school district that doesn’t have a team dedicated to autistic students, and Gonzalez has moved up the ranks to become the director of autism services at the San Antonio branch of the nonprofit Any Baby Can, offering families counseling and training post diagnosis. Rafa, now in his 30s, comes twice a week as a volunteer to stuff envelopes, collate in-house produced textbooks, and organize rooms for meetings. His affection for Gonzalez, and just about everyone else he meets, is obvious. His manners are impeccable (“It’s good to meet you,” he says, shaking hands with a visitor. “I’m making coffee. I make really good coffee.”), and he can navigate small errands by city bus, but he may never be truly self-sufficient. He still lives at home, cared for by his mother.

In the years to come, San Antonio — and the rest of the country, for that matter — will be dense with folks like Rafa. New numbers released by the U.S. Center for Disease Control in late March show the scope of the epidemic: one in 88 children in a handful of communities being tracked are now diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder by the age of 8. The numbers are based on information compiled in 2008 and represent an increase over one in 110 that were being diagnosed in 2006 and a 77 percent increase since 2002. Consider that when Gonzalez first got involved working with autistic children the number was roughly one in 10,000. Needless to say, the new figures have shocked advocates, parents, and researchers, and contributed to a tug-of-war over where to cast the blame. …

It’s for that reason that researchers are divided over how many of those new CDC numbers are truly new cases. While some media outlets have adopted the narrative of better diagnosis to explain away the statistical surge, UC Davis researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto looked at California autism cases from 1990 to 2006, finding that better diagnosis could not explain roughly half of the new cases being seen year after year. “Certainly some of the increase is a labeling issue,” Hertz-Picciotto wrote the Current in an email, “but our quantitative analysis suggested this could not explain a big portion of it.”

The scientific community is also strongly divided over what causes the disorder. While the role of obesity and the age of parents has been garnering headlines of late, the big battle has been between genetics and environment. For years, environmental factors have been swept to the margins of the debate, but some influential research — increasingly by San Antonio-based researchers — is tilting the scale toward the role of chemicals in the environment

A partnership between Our Lady of the Lake sociology prof Steve Blanchard and Ray Palmer, a doctor of preventative medicine specializing in autism at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, has drawn a statistical link between elevated autism rates in Bexar County and areas of high ambient mercury emissions, such as occurs around CPS Energy’s coal-burning power plants at Calaveras Lake and cement kilns to the north. And Dr. Claudia Miller, an allergist and immunologist, at UTHSC’s School of Medicine, warns about the role of poorly regulated everyday chemicals in homes and businesses. When it comes to explaining the disorder, Miller’s presentations frequently draw on the allusion of a handgun: “Genetics loads the gun; but environment pulls the trigger.” That is: our bodies may be predisposed to reacting to certain chemical inputs, but it takes the presence of that chemical to flip the switch. Which chemical? Good question. …

On the short list for problem chemicals are such known neurotoxins as lead, methylmercury, organophosphate insecticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, as well as arsenic, manganese, and ethyl alcohol, Landigan writes. “This short list of chemicals … may be only the currently visible tip of a potentially much larger problem,” he continues. “Children today are at risk of exposure to 3,000 synthetic chemicals produced in quantities of more than 1 million pounds per year.”

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