Autism and Cadmium...
Where Is The Cadmium Coming From?
It is a well known fact in the autism community that many children with autism appear to have very high levels of cadmium - another heavy metal - considered highly toxic to humans. To confirm this, simply go to any parent discussion board and ask about cadmium readings in toxicity tests performed on autistic children. Such a discussion board is that which also discusses mercury in autism. This is a board that discusses much more than just "mercury issues"... it discusses many toxicity issues in autism... there are several thousands who have now joined this discussion group and this board includes doctors, pharmacists, nurses, biologists, parents, teachers, lawyers, etc. You have the "entire range" represented there. You can join this group by going to this link: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Autism-Mercury/
So... we know cadmium is "an issue"... the question now becomes... where does it come from? There are many known sources of cadmium... perhaps one of the most common is cigarette smoke, but cadmium also is found in batteries, steel belted tires, and plastics. It can also be found in contaminated food stuffs (especially green leafy vegetables that readily absorb it from the soil and fish which can be contaminated with cadmium). You can also find cadmium in fumes from vehicles, sewage sludge, fertilizers, as a by-product of the manufacture of lead, zinc and copper, in volcanoes and forest fire fumes, etc.
For those who want to learn a little more about cadmium, the following provide a little more information on this very toxic substance and its impact on the human body.
http://www.portfolio.mvm.ed.ac.uk/studentwebs/session2/group29/cadtox.htm (basic overview)
http://www.cadmium.org/env_emi.html (sources of cadmium)
http://www.environmentaldefence.ca/pressroom/edcinnews/20030505.htm (on lead and cadmium in foods)
Another source of cadmium poisoning is from diesel fuel. Heavy equipment such as locomotives (i.e. smog commuters would be exposed to if they travel via rail), construction equipment, etc. are all sources of diesel and hence, cadmium pollution.
Well... as I consider this whole issue of cadmium toxicity in children who have autism, I can't help but wonder if perhaps we may be missing another source of cadmium poisoning... zinc supplementation. Zinc supplementation is certainly something we see in autism as parents are told to supplement with zinc because it is needed in many enzymatic processes in the human body. That may indeed be true, however, it is also a known fact that cadmium is a by-product of zinc and as such, I just can't help but wonder about the possible role of zinc supplementation in higher cadmium levels in children who have autism. Could things like prenatal vitamins and zinc supplements be a source of this contamination... I truly can't help but wonder! Of course, this is nothing more than "a guess" on my part, but I wanted to raise the issue as a possible source of contamination we may be overlooking because cadmium is absolutely known to be a by-product found in the processing of zinc.
Just a thought for those in science or for parent who are trying to find answers to so many of these issues...