By Dr. Mercola | April 25 2009Children who live in homes with vinyl floors, which can emit chemicals called phthalates, are more likely to have autism, according to new research. The study is among the first to find an apparent connection between an environmental chemical and autism.
The scientists were surprised by their finding, especially since their research was not initially designed to focus on autism. The researchers recommend further study of larger numbers of children to see whether the link can be confirmed.
In the study, families were asked questions about flooring as part of research investigating allergies and indoor air pollutants. The researchers found instead that four environmental factors were associated with autism -- vinyl flooring, the mother's smoking, family economic problems and condensation on windows (which can be an indicator of poor ventilation).
Infants or toddlers who lived in bedrooms with vinyl floors were twice as likely to have autism five years later.
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