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Is Maternal Exposure a Link to Autism?

Friday, January 04, 2019

Fresh Squeezed Blog/Children's Health/Is Maternal Exposure a Link to Autism?

Is Maternal Exposure a Link to Autism?

Autism and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

After a review of the most current information available, there is evidence that connects maternal exposure to certain VOCs and organic compounds like DDT, DDE, and PCBs to the development of autism in children.

These organic compounds are common in many insecticides commercially available. These insecticides are effective at getting rid of pests but may cause devastating effects to an unborn child. Environmental exposure to fat-soluble organic toxicants can stay in your body for a very long time.

During pregnancy, your body mobilizes your fat storage to access the vitamins and energy that the baby needs to grow and develop. While mobilizing that fat, your body releases these organic compounds which can get absorbed by the newly developing baby. Maternal exposure to insecticides may increase the risk of your developing newborn to having autism.

How can you prevent this?

This information is one link in understanding the possible origin of autism and how to decrease its occurrence. So what can you do to minimize this risk?

All individuals should reduce their exposure to insecticides but expecting mothers should completely avoid exposure.
It may also be in the best interest of your new baby to begin eating an organic diet with clean foods that are non-GMO. GMO foods and non-organic foods contain pesticides which may increase the total amount of toxins present in your body.

Do not begin any detox programs in the months before trying to get pregnant. These programs may raise your blood levels of the toxins which can pass through the placenta and enter your developing baby.

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Important Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only; it is NOT meant to substitute professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should NOT use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem/disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please schedule an appointment or call 203-693-1429 for individualized natural medicine.


  • Burke, R. D. et al. Developmental neurotoxicity of the organophosphorus insecticide chlorpyrifos: from clinical findings to preclinical models and potential mechanisms. J. Neurochem.142(Suppl. 2), 162–177 (2017).
  • ​Brown, A. S. et al. Association of maternal insecticide levels with autism in offspring from a national birth cohort. Am. J. Psychiatry (2018) Author
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