Rise of ADHD and Autism

by Deborah Merlin
(Los Angeles CA)

We face an epidemic of neurological and learning disorders that can’t be explained away by simple genetics. The Centers for Disease Control report that one out of six children has a neurological disorder.

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, 82,326 students receive special-education services. Students with symptoms of ADHD fall under the “Other Health Impairment” category where a total of 6,022 were enrolled in 2008.

The increase of autistic students in the LAUSD between 2003 and 2008 is truly alarming:

YearNumber of autistic students

In other words, in 2003, one out of 211 children was autistic; in 2008 the number of autistic students increased to one out of 81. If this trend continues, in eight years there could be one out of ten students on the autistic spectrum.

Autism was one of the main health topics discussed during the presidential debates. Autism has increased twelve-fold in California, and many others states are experiencing similar increases. This is an urgent crisis, and we must immediately address the root causes of these neurological disorders.

Environmental toxicity — particularly heavy-metal toxicity — causes a range of serious neurological and degenerative disorders. Heavy metals and other environmental toxins saturate our world. Our children come into frequent contact with mercury, lead, aluminum, pesticides and other toxins like the fire retardants found in cars and electronic equipment.

These toxins accumulate in the body’s vital organs and tissues, including the brain, liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas. They disrupt normal function, giving way to learning disabilities, hyperactivity, impaired IQ, poor concentration, depression, anxiety, violent behavior, headaches, and other obstacles to a child’s education and general well-being.

How prevalent is environmental toxicity? We don’t have the answers — yet. But, as the Environmental Protection Agency reports, we do know that one out of six women carries unsafe levels of mercury in her blood, putting 630,000 American infants at risk for cognitive and developmental damage. Fetuses in particular have the odds stacked against them if they mature in a cesspool of toxins

No level of lead exposure can be considered safe. The U.S. Public Health Service guidelines for “acceptable” blood level exposures (in micrograms per deciliter) have dropped dramatically over the years: Until 1969, 60 micrograms had been deemed safe; now, any exposure over 3 micrograms is considered a contributing factor to lower IQ and various behavior problems.

What can be done? All men and women should get tested for heavy metal toxicity before they start having children. But that aside, with such a large population of children struggling against learning disabilities, why not evaluate all children for environmental toxins before they enter the school system? A simple hair clipping, for instance, can be inexpensively tested for heavy metals. If test results indicate toxicity, there are several safe, scientifically-proven ways to remove toxins from the body; many families find success with chelation therapy.

Another inconvenient truth regards the food our children consume. Artificial food coloring and aspartame have no business in children’s cereal or commercial vitamins such as Centrum Kids or Flintstones. Most artificial food coloring contains mercury, lead and arsenic at microdose levels, but there is no safe level of these destructive toxins. Please find attached a list of the adverse reactions to artificial sweeteners and artificial food coloring.

Regrettably, not one school district in the United States has established a policy to measure environmental toxicity in students with learning disabilities or behavior disorders.

Systematic testing and detoxification of heavy metals and other environmental toxins could, over time, help rein in school district budgets and better serve students. And the potential value for your child’s education and well-being — well, who could put a dollar figure on that?

There must be a strong campaign to educate young people about diet and testing for heavy metal toxicity and other environmental toxins. Please contact me if you would like to get on board to start raising awareness on the causes and solutions to addressing the epidemic of neurological disorders.


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Mar 05, 2012
Ris eof ADHD and autism NEW
by: Deborah Merlin

For 2011 the autism statistics for LAUSD is now 10,902.

Mar 05, 2012
Five Stars! NEW
by: Anonymous

Very good artical, very informative, and very interestic stats at the beginning. Good job!

Jul 02, 2010
Great Article!
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the valuable info, Deborah.

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