|AUTISM AND VINYL FLOORING|
Neurotoxicology February 10, 2009
Children who live in homes with vinyl floors are more likely to have autism, according to this new study. The scientists were surprised by their finding, especially since their research was not initially designed to focus on autism.
In the study, families were asked questions about flooring as part of research investigating allergies and indoor air pollutants. The researchers found that four environmental factors were associated with autism—vinyl flooring, second hand smoke, economic problems, and window condensation (which can be an indicator of poor ventilation).
Vinyl floors emit chemicals called phthalates, which are plasticizers; they act to make plastics more flexible. Phthalates are also found in baby bottles, toys, shower curtains, and cosmetics. Phthalates are also endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). They can disrupt everything from development and behavior to reproduction and immunity. Even the tiniest hormone variation at certain critical points in fetal development can affect a child's future health. Two years ago, a study showed that pregnant women with higher urine concentrations of phthalates were more likely to give birth to sons with incomplete male genital development.
Infants or toddlers who lived in bedrooms with vinyl floors were twice as likely to have autism five years later.
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