When I sat in the school’s office and listened to the staff as they told me they wanted to test my 2 year old son for autism, a small tear rolled down my cheek. A day I am sure now I will never forget. I was scared at what the word, "autism" meant for my role as a parent but, more so, what it would mean for my sweet and vibrant boy.
When I decided to dive into writing this blog and sharing my experience, I wasn’t sure where to start. There is so much information out there and still so much to learn, it can be overwhelming at best. So when I stumbled upon several sources claiming a direct correlation to the chemicals found in everyday household products and autism in children, it initiated many different emotions and the protective mother inside me began to rise up. The search brought up by google alone was overwhelming. Here are just a few that jolted me as I scrolled through pages of resources online.
WebMD.com, stated, “Young boys whos mothers were exposed to chemicals known as phthalates while pregnant may face an increased risk for developing behaviors associated with autism.” If you didn’t know, phthalates are chemicals found in many household products, including cosmetics and plastics.
A review published in The Lancet Neurology said current regulations were inadequate to safeguard fetuses and children from potentially hazardous chemicals found in environment and everyday items such as clothing, furniture and toys.
Phillipe Grandjean from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and Phillip Landrigan from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York said that, in the past seven years, the number or recognized chemical causes of neurodevelopment disorders doubled from six to 12. These include, lead, arsenic, pesticides such as DDT, solvents, methylmercury that is found in some fish, flame retardants that are often added to plastics and textiles, and manganese- a commonly mined metal that can get into drinking water.
After research continued I began to become angry and confused. I asked questions like, why was this the first I was hearing or reading of this? If these chemicals in our products are so bad, why are they so prevalent? And lastly, why isn’t something being done to stop the manufacturing of products with these chemicals?
While I allowed myself to calm down, I began to process this information and how it related to me. It was time for me to take action! From that moment I made the choice to only allow clean, all natural, organic, chemical free options inside our family’s home. And further more, to educate others on the not so known issues of toxicity lurking in our most used products.
The realization that this is easier said than done does not elude me. Several issues arise with this new found passion. First is no real government regulation or FDA enforcement exists for household, skincare, and bath and body products. Fortunately, companies like Mother Nature’s Best Market and non profit organizations such as EWG.org are on a mission. Mother Nature's Best Market works diligently to source chemical free and non toxic products for all areas of life. Shopping their market gives me a sense of pride knowing I am providing myself and my family the safest options available.
Removing the chemicals in my household and families lives will not change the reality of my son being Autistic. But, if making healthier choices keeps him from other harm and protects the other members of my family, then what can I loose? I can honestly say each day is a new adventure as we navigate through making changes in my sons diet, adding additional therapies and following a consistent routine. Most importantly, life is full and my son is happy. I'm honored to be his biggest supporter and each day I see him growing into exactly who he is meant to be.
Written by: Kimber Wolf, mother of Autistic child, believer in chemical free living
For more resources on Autism and chemical free living see below: