Thursday, 17 February 2011

Does “Contaminated Water" Cause Autism?

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For the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the evidence for the need for government intervention is everywhere, for there dangers in the air we breathe, and in the water we drink. That it is becoming increasingly clear that the allegations of such dangers are often not accompanied with actual evidence is of little importance — at least for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

First, it was carbon dioxide. As reported previously, the EPA, under Jackson’s leadership, took the extraordinary step of issuing an “endangerment finding” concerning a naturally occurring atmospheric gas—carbon dioxide—which just happens to be the fourth most common gas in the atmosphere. The “endangerment finding” was issued when the Senate failed to capitulate to White House demands for adoption of a “cap and trade” system of carbon credits which would have further crippled an economy which was on the verge of collapse. “Cap and trade” would have transferred hundreds of billions of dollars from American businesses and private citizens to benefit Third World nations as part of a UN-orchestrated system of global wealth redistribution. The “endangerment finding” remains part of series of EPA actions in recent years which permit further growth in the regulatory power of the agency, and an ongoing diminution of the authority of the legislative branch of government to enact legislation. Naturally, many members of the new Congress are taking steps to curtail the EPA’s incursions into their authority.

Now, Lisa Jackson has turned her attention to the nation’s water supply. Her concern is that drinking water may be the cause of autism. The main problem with her argument is that she cannot produce any evidence to support it.

With the alleged link between autism and childhood vaccinations now discredited, the search is on once again for a sole environmental cause. Not too surprisingly, an agency which has undoubtedly suffered a significant loss of credibility in the wake of the implosion of the theory of manmade climate change is now looking for a new way to save the world. Thus on February 2 Administrator Jackson told the Senate Committee on Public Works that her agency could save children from autism by protecting them from contaminated water: Jackson defended her agency’s relative lack of accountability to the basic laws of economics with the claim, “our science may be good, but I don’t know how you price the ability to try to forestall a child who may not get autism if they’re not exposed to contaminated water.”

CNSNews has repeatedly requested of Jackson and the EPA that the alleged link between autism and “contaminated water” be substantiated with any scientific research. As Penny Starr wrote for CNSNews on February 16:

After Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson testified on Feb. 2 that regulating drinking water might help prevent children from getting autism, asked Jackson by e-mail whether she could provide “any data, studies, documents, reports or other sources” to confirm her claim. Her office subsequently stated there were “emerging studies” but provided no evidence.
In an e-mail statement to on Feb. 11, Jackson said there were “emerging studies” that show a possible link between autism and environmental factors. But repeated requests by e-mail and by telephone to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking them to produce those studies or other documentation to support her claim were not answered.The Feb. 11 statement said, “We do not yet know enough about autism to identify any specific environmental contaminants that are responsible. As EPA Administrator, it is my job to make sure that the public's health is protected from environmental toxins in the air we breathe, the water we drink and our land. Science is an always evolving field, and will always guide EPA's actions.”

Vague allusions to “emerging studies” aside, it would appear that the agency has no credible, peer-reviewed science to support Jackson’s inflammatory claim. Autism is a very painful crisis for many American families; it is unfair to this nation’s citizens to leave them with the appearance of manipulating that pain for the purpose of justifying President Obama’s recent Executive Order which offers little relief toward undoing the irresponsible actions of Jackson’s agency, which has operated with very little accountability for the economic woe which its regulations bring.

Actually, if the EPA wished to do something to help with regard to the quality of this nation’s water supply, it could have taken action sooner to reduce, or eliminate, the amount of fluoride being artificially introduced into our drinking water. As Bob Confer reported for The New American:

This past December yet another study was released — the 24th of its sort — indicating that the additive [fluoride] has an adverse effect on the intelligence of children. In a report for the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, Paul Connett, Ph.D. looked at Chinese populations newly exposed to fluoride and found that 28% of the children in the low-fluoride village of Xinhuai (.36 mg/L) were possessed of bright, normal or high intelligence. There, the mental retardation rate was only 6%. Conversely, in the high-fluoride community of Wamaio (2.47 mg/L) only 8% fell into the bright, normal or high intelligence category while mental retardation grew to a staggering 15%.

While Jackson offers the Senate her unsubstantiated speculations about a link between “contaminated water” and autism, peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown a link between mental retardation and fluoride. On February 11, the EPA responded to CNSNews inquiries with a statement which read, in part:

“While the science is not evolved enough to explain that increase, some emerging studies show a possible association between environmental exposures and autism,” the statement continued. “Though we do not yet know enough about autism to identify any specific environmental contaminants that are responsible, EPA's job is to be on the forefront of protecting American's from such threats.”

Thus far, one of the most widespread government interventions in the water supply for supposed health benefits has exposed the population to very dangerous side effects for the sake of dental health. What new costs — and risks — will the EPA bring on the American public for the sake of Jackson’s unsubstantiated claims? 

Photo: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson: AP Images

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