Well, I was having a decent week until I read this editorial by Nicholas Kristof. I thought it was only his articles with terrifying and awful details about South Asian prostitution rings that made me sad. But he also writes about environmental hazards. And he connects these hazards to autism.
Kristof, like all people who consider the possibility of links between autism and the environment, doesn’t have lots of hard data yet. But he is among the people trying to get us – including scientists – to ask more questions and do more research. I’m glad he’s using the platform of a popular newspaper to ask questions about environmental toxins and public health.
At the same time, I can’t shake the feeling that someday I’m going to find out that my shampoo or my cooking containers or car fumes hurt Martin’s brain when he was only a fetus. And that is a bad feeling. It’s a bad feeling not only because there’s no way to verify (or not verify), but also because if it has even a remote possibility of being true, we won’t just have an autism epidemic, we’ll have our hands full of devastated mothers. Like the Thimerosal moms of the 1970s. That prospect scares me.
I just have to remember that it’s more important – for me, at least – to take care of Martin as he is. He is what he is and there’s no changing it, no matter what the original cause. Since my hands are full, I’m glad that some scientists are trying to figure out this confusing condition.