4 Ways You Can Try to Prevent Autism Now

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preg heartInteresting thing about autism research: Seems like the more we discover about possible causes and complicating factors, the better off everyone will be -- whether autism is a challenge in their lives personally or not. That's because nearly every new finding links autism with something dangerous in our environment or diet. Like the recent study which found that when tested, children with autism had higher levels of certain toxic metals in their blood and urine than non-autistic kids; specifically, lead, thallium, tin, and tungsten -- all of which can potentially "impair brain development and function, and also interfere with the normal functioning of other body organs and systems."

Scary, yes, but don't panic. Pregnancy is the perfect time to start limiting exposure to toxic metals. Read on for more info on each of these hazardous substances and how you can begin to take preventative measures now:


Because millions of homes built before 1940 were constructed using lead, almost half a million U.S. children currently between the ages of 1 and 5 have blood lead levels, which are higher than the "CDC recommended level of 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood."

What you can do now:

Have your home's lead levels tested, especially if it was built before 1978 during the years when lead paint was still used on walls. Also use glassware instead of ceramic plates and cups, as some of the paints and glazes used to make these contain lead.


Once used in rodent poisons, thallium is released into the environment as a byproduct of "coal-burning and smelting" and "stays in the air, water, and soil for a long time" without breaking down. Thalium gets absorbed by plants, then by animals who eat those plants.

What you can do now:

Thallium is mostly introduced to humans through contaminated foods, though breathing polluted air doesn't help. Consider staying away from areas with poor quality water and skip the seafood, as thallium builds up in fish and shellfish.


Tin is just about everywhere -- in everything from tin cans to industrial waste.

What you can do now:

Eat less canned food and avoid seafood caught from areas near industrial plants.


A metal used in lightbulb filaments, welding, glass-cutting, jewelry-making, ammunition, and more, tungsten is considered an "environmental contaminant of concern" but is NOT regulated in drinking water in the U.S. (It was regulated in the former Soviet Union.)

What you can do now:

If you live near any factories, find out if tungsten is used in production. Also look into how any fireproof and waterproof materials are made before buying (these sometimes contain tungsten).

Are you concerned about exposure to toxic metals?


Image via Britt-kne/Flickr

pregnancy health, autism


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nonmember avatar Erin

Darn, if I would have had this list 15 years ago, I could have hid myself in a plastic bubble during my pregnancy and prevented my son's autism. If only I would have known!

nonmember avatar Rory Gilmore

Believe it or not, autism has been around longer than 20 years or so, it just wasnt recognized as often. Not every autistic adult or child has high levels of metals in his or her body,. My kids don't. They also eat organic, homemade foods (seriously, no processed foods, ever) and don't play next to microwaves and don't huff exhaust, and they STILL are autistic. And you know what? It's okay. I think avoiding toxins when pregnant is, in general, good advice. But this phenomenon of being frightened of something that does also naturally happen in nature? That just seems silly.

LuvMy... LuvMyDandD

However, maybe before we heave the autism burden onto the shoulders of pregnant mothers, we could just maybe remember the research that shows some autism to be genetic. Also there was research linking it to the father's sperm. There was also the research that showed that autistic genes actually morph into bipolar disorder in teen girls, accounting for the higher rate of autism in males and bipolar in females. Don't forget the research that showed that autism was caused by the MMR vaccine, which is now debunked. Other research has also been debunked. The tips above should really be done by all pregnant mothers for general health of all involved. The wording of the article makes it seem that the pregnant mother has somehow done something (or NOT done something) to cause autism in their children. Until more research is done without being debunked, let's not lay this on a mother's shoulders. We have enough to handle.

mommy... mommyof4inokc

You know what? Autism just happens.  I have 4 kids.  My oldest is autistic.  I ate the same things with all pregnancies.  All my kids lived in the same house while I was pregnant and after birth.  All have the same father.  All had immunizations.  Only one of my kids has autism.  No one else in my or dad's family.  IT JUST HAPPENS.  It can be a blessing or not, depending on the perspective of the parent and  where that child is on the spectrum.  Why do some kids leukemia and siblings don't?  IT JUST HAPPENS.  God is in control.  Not us. Avoiding food, not getting immunizations etc isn't going to "fix" it.  It can't be "fixed" doesn't need to be "fixed."  IMHO.  (in my humble opinion.)

nonmember avatar Salkal

This post is not based on ANY confirmed research and completely irresponsible. How dare you feed misinformation to unassuming parents. Actually the leading research from Columbia University is leaning to Genetic links

adopt... adoption2013

My daughters autism spectrum disorder was caused by her birth mother doing Crack while she was pregnant.  I doubt that she was worried about exposure to metals.

cymkare cymkare

Nobody knows what causes Autism. It's like Cancer. Yes, some things we know cause cancer like smoking or asbestos, but sometimes people get it anyway. They say that everything causes it because nobody knows! 

Lara Lohne

It is regrettable that you decided to post this article and feed the fear of autism. I have six children, five are neurotypical, my youngest has autism. Lots of things were different with my last pregnancy then with the five before it, the biggest one being a different father, who also falls on the spectrum. There is a lot of research out there that says one thing or another about autism and a causal link to something environmental, but it all comes down to genetics in the end. Some genes are contributory, others are protective. A person can have both and not have autism, a person can have neither and not have autism, a person can have contributory and not have protective and will have autism. Sometimes the genes are found to be de novo mutations, meaning they are first occurring in the person with autism. Aside from all of this data that has been found that you seemed to have completely overlooked, fear mongering against people with autism is prejudicial and ignorant. Autism is nothing to be feared. Even those who are the most severely and profoundly affected can be loved and can live happy lives. Do you even have a child with autism? If you can't answer yes to that question, then STFU about it, because you don't know what you're talking about.

Lisa Nussbaum Douglas

I beg to differ!!!!!! Whoever wrote this article, does NOT have a clue!!!!! Please, there is NO way to DETOUR Autism!!!!! This is bullshit. That"s like saying, don"t eat candy, and you won"t be diabetic. I did ALL the RIGHT things when I was pregnant, and I have a beautiful son who is Autistic!!! You get what you get!!! It is what it is!!!!! You cannot prevent this disorder!!!

AMom29 AMom29

This article is inaccurate and misleading.  We don't KNOW what causes Autism, let alone how to PREVENT it.  I expect better from CafeMom.

Chelation and the metals theory has NOT been proven.  The editors should remove this post.

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