Managing Editor's Note: Thank you to Marshall Allen of the Las Vegas Sun for this article in which Dr. Catherine Rice, Director of the CDC's National Center for Birth Defects states that vaccines and other environmental insults are possible causes of autism. I think the genetics only crowd and vaccine deniers' luck is running out, don't you? Please click HERE to read the full article at the Las Vegas Sun. You can thank Mr. Allen for running this article HERE. Please do. Kim
So are there more autistic children, or is the broadening definition causing more children to be classified as autistic?
It’s impossible to say for sure, Rice said. Awareness of autism is increasing, which leads to more effective identification, but it’s also possible that it’s increasing. Even with the more inclusive definition, the number of autistic children seems to be on the rise, Rice said.
It’s not known what causes autism.
Researchers say environmental factors could contribute to the onset of the disorders. Studies have linked autism to air pollutants, pesticides, pet medications and even drugs used in the birthing process, such as Pitosin, Rice said.
“It could be anything from the exposures in our physical surroundings — chemicals around us in homes, clothes, products, medications we take and food we eat,” Rice said.
Rice said the recognition that environmental factors play a role in causing autism shows that there is common ground in the debate about whether vaccines play a role in the disorders.