Tooth Fairy Study Indicates High Level of Environmental Toxins as Potential Biomarkers of Autism

By L.Mae Wilkinson

Although many parents accept the fact that genetics may play a role in autism spectrum disorders, they also believe that some environmental factors may also be responsible. Lynne Heilbrun, the Autism Research Coordinator at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, is part of a team that has just completed the first study to identify those environmental substances that may be putting our children at risk. The study was sponsored by the US Department of Defense, Autism Speaks’ Research Organization, the Southwest Research Institute and the Institute for the Integration of Science and Medicine (UTHSCSA).  Lynne and her colleagues developed an innovative approach to exploring environmental triggers by studying the baby teeth of children with an autism diagnosis. The substances  they found in the teeth are disturbing, and include numerous [LPH1] household chemicals, including those used in plastics and pesticides, which have been linked to neurological damage in humans.

The study has made a true impact on research around the world.  Researchers from across the U.S. and other countries such as Japan, Korea, and Norway have visited the team’s lab, and National Geographic will featured the teeth in it’s upcoming October 2014 issue.

In our interview we discussed the large role genetics plays in the way a body reacts to the exposure to toxins as well as psycho social factors involved. What was found in the teeth of children with autism and those who are not autistic?

Listen to the interview to learn why baby teeth were chosen, the method and scientific basis of the results, how acetaminophen and other everyday items can have a neurological affect on children even before they are born. What to avoid and what you can do about keeping toxins away from your child.

Click on the BTR Box below to listen

The South Texas Autism Research Group at the UT Health Science Center is working toward finding underlying causes of autism by identifying chemicals in baby teeth. Like rings on a tree, baby teeth hold a record of the child’s exposures. By analyzing the content of baby teeth, they have now identified many chemicals including medications, pesticides, flame retardants, plastics and numerous other toxic chemicals in baby teeth. They are collecting teeth from children with autism, their siblings and other typically developing children to look at differences in chemical concentrations between children with and without autism.

To participate in the study by donating baby teeth or to support the study with a donation please go to The Tooth Fairy Study

The List – Chemicals detected in deciduous teeth by the South Texas Autism Research group

Detected compound Possible uses

Acetaminophen, 4-aminophenol Acetaminophen [analgesic]

Ibuprofen Ibuprofen [analgesic]

3,5,6-Trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy) Dursban (Chlorpyrifos insecticide]

2-Isopropyl-6-methyl-4-pyrimidinol (IMPy) diazinon [OP insecticide]

Diethyl phosphate 10 ethyl OP insecticides

N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) [insect repellant]

Monoethyl phthalate (MEP) used to make plastics more flexible; perfumes, fragrances, toothbrushes, automobile parts, tools, toys, food packaging, cosmetics, insecticides, and aspirin

Mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP) used to make plastics more flexible and is also in carpet backings, paints, glue, insect repellents, hair spray, nail polish, and rocket fuel

Mono-iso-butyl phthalate (MiBP) in nitro cellulose plastic, nail polish, lacquer manufacturing and with methyl methacrylate applications

Monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP) soft vinyl children’s toys and child care articles; floor tiles, food conveyor belts, artificial leather

Mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP) most toxic phthalate; widely used as a plasticizer in manufacturing of articles made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Anandamide [naturally occurring neurotransmitter]

gamma-Chlordane [chlordane insecticide]

Piperonyl butoxide [ingredient in pesticides]

Tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBEP) flame retardant
Triphenyl phosphate flame retardant

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), C22:6 n3 naturally occurring fatty acid
alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA), C18:3 n3 naturally occurring fatty acid
ETE, C20:3 n3 naturally occurring fatty acid
EPA, C20:5 n3 naturally occurring fatty acid
DPA, C22:5 n3 naturally occurring fatty acid
Arachidonic acid (ARA), C20:4 n6 naturally occurring fatty acid
Linoleic acid (LA), C18:2 n6 naturally occurring fatty acid
C20:2 n6 naturally occurring fatty acid

1,1′-Biphenyl, 4-methyl- flavoring agent

Benzocaine oral anesthetic ointments; cough drops

Benzophenone prevent UV light damage to scents and colors in perfume and soap

Benzothiazole not widely used; many derivatives found in products or in nature

Benzyl alcohol produced naturally by many plants; ink solvent; soap precursor

Benzyl benzoate treat scabies; stabilize fragrances; food additive; plasticize cellulose

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) antioxidant additive in many foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals

Caprolactam precursor to Nylon 6

Dibutyl phthalate commonly used plasticizer; nail polish; adhesives; printing inks

Drometrizole UV light absorber and stabilizer in plastics and cosmetics

Homosalate sunscreens; absorbs UV light

Methyl salicylate wintergreen fragrance; deep-heating liniments

Naphthalene main ingredient of traditional mothballs; phthalic anhydride precursor, exhaust fumes

Oxybenzone sunscreens and other cosmetics; absorbs UVA and UVB light

Phenol precursor to plastics, nylon, detergents, herbicides, and drugs

Phenol, 2,4-dichloro- photo-degradation product of triclosan; 2,4-D herbicide intermediate

Tributyl phosphate ink solvent; detergents; emulsions; paints; adhesives

Triclosan widely-used antibacterial in soap, deodorant, toothpaste, cleaners

Triphenyl phosphate flame retardant; plasticizer; nail polish

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