There are simple steps we can take today to reduce the rate of autism and end the autism epidemic. This does not require waiting for more research or a new drug. But it does require that we take action to avoid harmful exposures in our environment.
The first step is preventing exposures that cause genetic mutations. Many children with autism are found to have genetic mutations that they did not inherit from their parents. These are called de novo mutations and usually come from the father’s side. Being an older father is usually associated with a higher risk for genetic mutations in sperm cells, but older age can also mean longer environmental exposures. Environmental exposures that decrease fertility and are known to damage sperm should be avoided. One rising environmental exposure is wireless radiation from laptops and cell phones near reproductive organs. Wireless signals have been found to cause sperm and DNA damage. Men carrying their cell phone in their front pocket prior to conception are at greater risk for sperm damage and de novo mutations.
A researcher at Stanford studied twins, including some cases of identical twins, where one child had autism and the other did not. He found that genetics alone only accounted for 38% of the factors that contributed to autism. The remaining 62% came from environmental factors.
The two environmental factors that leading doctors and researchers are most concerned about are glyphosate and wireless. Both are relatively new to our environment, and our exposures to them have risen exponentially. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp. It is extensively used with GMO “RoundUp ready” crops and is also used as a drying agent on wheat to speed the time to market. Glyphosate exposure can be avoided by switching to organic foods since the organic standard bans the use of glyphosate.
Wireless use and exposures have been rising dramatically since cell towers and networks were rolled out around 1980. The rise of digital (DECT) cordless phones in the mid-1980s, and later, baby monitors and Wi-Fi, as well as computer use, have brought these exposures closer to our bodies and to our children. At this point, most people are surrounded by these signals that penetrate our bodies 24 hours a day. None of these products were safety tested prior to being released into the market, even though harm, including DNA damage, has been found by researchers. A two-part paper on EMF (electromagnetic fields) and autism published in 2013 examined the published research on the biological effects of wireless and EMF exposures and found that the known symptoms of exposure matched the primary symptoms of autism. Many parents are reporting steady and sometimes rapid improvements in their children after reducing sources of constant wireless exposures in their homes, especially when these exposures are reduced during critical sleep hours.
Many other factors are already known to increase the risk of autism. Until we have absolute proof that suspected environmental factors are not driving the epidemic, we should take action to avoid exposures, until products are tested and shown not to be associated with autism or biological harm.
Carefully review your home, food, water, and air quality, as well as the products that you buy. Look for household and personal care products that are EWG verified to be free of known toxins. Even if you already have a child on the autism spectrum, improving food quality and your home environment can decrease symptoms, and in some cases, the child can recover.
Until we have a full and systematic review of all the environmental factors that can contribute to autism, we must, as responsible parents, take action to avoid exposures that are known to be harmful or are untested, especially ones that are rising dramatically, like glyphosate and wireless. This will require some vigilance on our parts, but nothing new is required and we don’t have to wait to act. We simply have to restore the health of our homes so that our children can be healthy, thrive, and reach their full potential.
 O’Roak, Brian J., et al. "Sporadic autism exomes reveal a highly interconnected protein network of de novo mutations." Nature 485.7397 (2012): 246-250.
 Kong, Augustine, et al. "Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father's age to disease risk." Nature 488.7412 (2012): 471-475.
 Kinney, Dennis K., et al. "Environmental risk factors for autism: do they help cause de novo genetic mutations that contribute to the disorder?." Medical hypotheses 74.1 (2010): 102-106.
 Houston, B. J., et al. "The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on sperm function." Reproduction 152.6 (2016): R263-R276.
 Sepehrimanesh, Masood, et al. "Proteomic analysis of continuous 900-MHz radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure in testicular tissue: a rat model of human cell phone exposure." Environmental Science and Pollution Research(2017): 1-8.
 Herbert, Martha R., and Cindy Sage. "Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link–Part I."Pathophysiology 20.3 (2013): 191-209.
 Herbert, Martha R., and Cindy Sage. "Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link Part II."Pathophysiology 20.3 (2013): 211-234.
 Facebook Autism and EMF Group
 Autism and Your Home
 EWG Verified
 EWG’s Healthy Home Guide
 Faber, Scott, et al. "A clean room sleeping environment’s impact on markers of oxidative stress, immune dysregulation, and behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders." BMC complementary and alternative medicine 15.1 (2015): 71.