An article from the Boston Metro this past week revealed the results of a study from Arizona State University regarding causal links between lead exposure and autism. It was found generally that the higher level of toxic metal present in a person’s blood, the more intense the symptoms of autism were. Autistic subjects were compared to control subjects who did not suffer from autism, and the results were astoundingly undeniable; those with Autism were found to carry about 74% more lead in their bodies and about 115% more tin, and those with the most severe autistic symptoms had the most concentrations of toxic metals.
The reason these findings are making so many waves in the disability community is because autism has long been thought to be hereditary. Now that it has been linked to something as common and present as lead, the question looms large: what do we do about it? If autism can be linked to something tangible, something preventable, what are our responsibilities now? Victims of lead poisoning have collected compensation up to $320 million. Should autistic individuals be compensated for being exposed to lead commonly found in soil, paints, or gasoline? Now that a potentially preventable cause of this disability has been identified, the cause needs to be dealt with.