A recent study in the journal Health and Place says that mercury pollution in the state of Texas in US may be one of the reasons of rise in number of autistic children.
In US, mercury is released in the environment because of the power plants that consume coal. According to the researchers, on an average, for each 1000 pounds of mercury that's released into the environment, there is a 61% increase in the rate of autism with 43% increase in the rates of special education services.
Mercury, a metal, is known to have neurotoxin properties that can affect the brain, the spinal cord kidney or liver. Autism is a behavior disorder that affects the children and has a neural or genetic component, says the experts. Mercury was for a long time was being associated with autism, but it was considered to be the one present in the MMR vaccine given to children. Studies have failed to make any concrete connection in this regard. By relating mercury in the environment to autism, the researchers have opened a new door to study the effects of mercury pollution to autism.
The study was done using data from the Texas Education Department and US Environment Protection Agency. The researchers had taken into consideration other variables as population size, economic and demographic factors.