Endocrine Disruptors and Their Connections With Austism and ADHD

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There is evidence that endocrine disruptors (think environmental toxins like BPA/plastics, PCB’s, dioxin, and more) are causing or contributing to autism/ ASD/ ADHD.  There is an emerging understanding in the endocrinology community of Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT)  and I am increasingly convinced there may be a similar TILT phenomenon with the thyroid.  Our children may have “normal” thyroid levels but the circulating thyroid hormones are not effective at the receptors (the cell level).  This would be as if they were hypothyroid, and is called functional hypothyroidism.  This state of functional hypothyroidism would lead to low cellular energy, and specifically can lower GABA, a major calming neurotransmitter.  With low GABA, our children can have seizures at extreme deficiency and anxiety and panic attacks at moderate levels of deficiency. 

Here is an interesting article demonstrating just how much we already know on this topic of endocrine disruptors and Autism Spectrum/ ADHD-

Does perinatal exposure to endocrine disruptors induce autism spectrum and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders?
Acta Paediatr. 2012 Aug;101(8):811-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2012.02693.x. Epub 2012 May 7.

de Cock MMaas YGvan de Bor M.


Department of Health and Life Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



To provide an overview of studies on perinatal exposure in humans to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in relation to autism spectrum (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) disorders.


A review of the literature (PubMed) was performed. Exposure-related keywords, including various chemicals, were matched with keywords describing outcome. Animal studies as well as publications not written in English were excluded. In total, 834 titles were retrieved. The final selection included 21 publications.


Positive associations were found for ASD in relation to exposure to all chemicals investigated, which included hazardous air pollutants, pesticides and bisphenol A (BPA). Increased risks of ADHD or positive associations were found for exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dialkyl phosphate (DAP) and chlorpyrifos. BPA, polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) and low molecular weight (LMW) phthalates were positively associated with externalizing behaviour. Five of 17 studies did not find any association between exposure and ADHD.


Perinatal exposure to EDCs appears to be associated with the occurrence of ASD as well as ADHD. Disruption of thyroid hormone function and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic mechanisms may offer an explanation for the observed relations; though, conclusive evidence in humans is limited.

© 2012 The Author(s)/Acta Paediatrica © 2012 Foundation Acta Paediatrica.

Dr. Paul

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