1. Behind the new autism numbers

    In the two decades since I opened my practice, I've seen a dramatic rise in the number of families with autistic children.

    I'm not the only one.

    The number of cases across the country has skyrocketed, up 78 percent between 2002 and 2008, according to new numbers from the CDC. Another way to put it: 1 in 88 kids now have the condition.

    If this were any other disease, it would be considered an epidemic. If there was a drug on the market for it, you can bet there would be campaigns to get people to take it (and you can also bet those campaigns would be funded with tax money).

    Instead, it just gets a ho-hum reaction from the mainstream -- with even the CDC itself trying to pretend the increase isn't real.

    "There is the possibility that the increase in cases is entirely the result of better detection," Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the agency, said at a briefing.

    That's right -- Dr. Frieden wants you to think all those new cases of autism were there all along... you just didn't notice them.

    I say that's a load of bunk -- because while better detection is responsible for some of that increase, it doesn't explain the vast majority of it. You can blame those squarely on all the toxins and other poisons kids are being exposed to at every turn, even starting in the womb.

    Here's an example: Children in homes with vinyl floors have double the risk of autism than kids in homes with wood floors, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Neurotoxicology.

    That's almost certainly because vinyl floors contain phthalates, a hormone-like chemical used in plastics.

    And that's just one example.

    Other kids are getting extra hormones from the chemical BPA, which is used in food and drink packaging -- and that's another cause of autism.

    Mercury exposure has also been linked to autism, and you'll find that poison leeching into the water in many places, in amalgam fillings -- and, despite what you may have heard, it's still used in some vaccines.

    And speaking of vaccines, there's definitely a link between the condition and some common childhood shots, especially combination shots such as MMR.

    Other kids are suffering from severe nutritional deficiencies thanks to the toxic modern diet, while still others can't get the nutrients they need even if they do eat right thanks to genetic problems.

    In short, there's no single cause of autism. Genetics are a contributing factor, but environmental factors are the more obvious reason for the skyrocketing rates. Many of the causes simply didn't exist years ago -- or didn't exist to the extent that they do today.

    That's not only the real reason for the increase... it's also why you'll continue to see the numbers skyrocket.

    I've got more on BPA next.

  2. BPA in everything

    You might want to cancel the newspaper subscription.

    By now, you've heard of bisphenol-A -- the dangerous estrogen-like chemical used in plastics and can linings that's been linked to diabetes, sexual dysfunction and more.

    But eating packaged and canned goods isn't the only way to get exposed to this junk and boost your risk.

    Your daily newspaper might be loaded with it -- and just one touch is all it takes to get exposed through your skin (and I don't even want to think about the dangers to people who lick their fingers before turning each page).

    Here's the problem: I've told you before that common receipts -- store receipts, ATM receipts and more -- are loaded with BPA because of the thermal ink.

    As it turns out, people dump those same receipts into their recycling bins -- and while the receipts are no longer receipts once they're recycled, the BPA is still BPA.

    Now, researchers say they've found high levels of BPA in nearly everything made from recycled paper -- including newspapers and train tickets, which had up to a million times the levels of what you'd find in food from a BPA-laced container.

    Like I said, definitely don't lick your finger before turning the page -- but you don't have to put these things in your mouth to be exposed. Studies have shown that BPA can be absorbed through the skin -- and in some cases, it can't even be washed off.

    Along with train tickets and newspapers, the researchers also found BPA in some of the most commonly used recycled paper products: napkins, food wrappers -- even toilet paper!

    But it doesn't matter where your exposure comes from or how you get it -- the key is avoiding it. BPA has been linked to a host of diseases and illnesses, and along with diabetes and sexual dysfunction, recent studies have linked BPA to early menopause, obesity, heart disease, and developmental problems.

    Luckily, it's pretty easy to bring your levels down -- just commit to a diet of fresh foods. One study found that fresh organic foods can slash your BPA levels by 60 percent over three days. (Read about it here.)

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