More research must be undertaken to investigate the environmental causes of autism and other developmental disorders.
This is the opinion of a new editorial, co-authored by Dr Philip Landrigan, Dr Luca Lambertini and Dr Linda Birnbaum.
According to the academics, there are ten target chemicals that have already been identified as contributing to the development of autism.
However, thus far, there has been negligible research into how they affect neuro development, with researchers preferring to focus on genetic explanations.
The call for further study is supported by shocking data in the US, which shows that three percent of all neurobehavioural disorders in children, including autism, are caused by exposure to toxic chemicals.
Some 25 per cent are caused by interactions with other environmental factors and genetics.
Dr Landrigan stated: "A large number of the chemicals in widest use have not undergone even minimal assessment of potential toxicity and this is of great concern."
Some of these chemicals are lead, endocrine disrupters, methylmercury and organochlorine pesticides.
Further investigation is needed to properly understand the effects of these chemicals on a child's brain development.
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