Sorting out the spinning of autism: heavy metals and the question of incidence

Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2010;70(2):165-76.


The reasons for the rise in autism prevalence are a subject of heated professional debate. Featuring a critical appraisal of some research used to question whether rising levels of autism are related to environmental exposure to toxins (Soden et al. 2007, Barbaresi et al. 2009, Thompson et al. 2007) we aim to evaluate the actual state of scientific knowledge. In addition, we surveyed the empirical research on the topic of autism and heavy metal toxins. In our opinion empirical investigations are finding support for a link with heavy metal toxins. The various causes that have led to the increase in autism diagnosis are likely multi-faceted, and understanding the causes is one of the most important health topics today. We argue that scientific research does not support rejecting the link between the neurodevelopmental disorder of autism and toxic exposures.

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / chemically induced
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Autistic Disorder / genetics
  • Autistic Disorder / metabolism
  • Chelating Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Europe
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Heavy Metal Poisoning, Nervous System / urine*
  • Humans
  • Mercury / pharmacokinetics
  • Mercury / toxicity*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Succimer / pharmacokinetics
  • United States


  • Chelating Agents
  • Succimer
  • Mercury