Eric Roberts: Pesticides and Autism

Since World War II, over 80,000 chemical compounds have been developed in the U.S. About 3,000 of these chemicals are produced at rate of one million pounds per year. Do these chemicals have potential public health risks? Can exposure to these chemicals be linked to childhood development disorders, such as autism? What challenges do environmental health programs face in trying to identify toxic chemicals? Could stem cell science help assess the toxicity of these chemicals? A panel of speakers addressed these questions at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine on September 30, 2009.

Eric Roberts, MD, PhD, summarized results of his epidemiology study, which indicates a link between residential proximity to pesticides and increased risk of autism in children.

Roberts is director of health surveillance for the California Health Tracking Program in collaboration with the Public Health Institute.