Thank you for asking this important question. I recently attended a very interesting and intensive conference for children and adults with autism. There was no mention of this connection that I heard. Furthermore, in my readings regarding autism, I have read nothing to suggest that disposable diapers and autism are linked. However, there may be some remote study conducted in another country or not widely known. You may wish to go to a university library or your local library and have some assistance with running an ERIC search (an educationally/medically based search). Also, there are forums where you can pose questions to parents and professionals in the field of autism. I have listed the links below. Good luck and please let us know what you find out. Even the professionals on JustAsk can learn from this forum by information posted from the wonderful parents and educators who participate here.
You know I was just wondering this myself but from a different angle. Wondering if the chemicals in the diapers stunt the sperm production the kids, leading them to grow up with inappropriately developed sperm. Would be interesting to see a study where the parents of children with autism were compared in this regard. We live in such a chemical world, but that's a spot where chemicals hit pretty close to reproductive health.
I am a licensed mental health counselor specializing in children's issues. In my own research I have discovered an interesting connection between autism and disposable diapers. Autism began to skyrocket if you look at the research starting in 1992. Why that year? And why has autism increased dramatically ever since? The companies that produce disposable diapers began a huge push to use their products, many times with deceptive statistics near the end of the 1980's, like 1988, 1989. You can look this up yourself. Too many chemicals are never good.
I have a graduate degree in psychology and am acutely aware of the skyrocketing rates of autism. One year ago I adopted a baby whose brother has mild autism and so my concern and questions have increased. I have been informally hypothesizing the possible cause of this rise in autism.
Last night the baby woke in the middle of the night and I propped her on the changing table, changed her and gave her a bottle of water. As she drank I became more and more sleepy and rested my head next to her, near her diaper (which was covered by three layers: her onesie, pajamas and flannel sleeper. Within minutes I was overwhelmed with the inhalation of chemicals. The baby fell asleep and I returned her to her crib and I went to my bed. For at least ten minutes I could taste/smell nothing but the chemicals from the diaper that I inhaled in just a few minutes of close contact. I imagined what my poor baby must have inhaled in her year of life and I immediately realized that this super absorbent diaper could be a potent factor that may be involved in the increase in autism cases. I removed all the diapers from her room and replaced them today with chlorine free diapers, which have a slightly less chemical smell.
If anyone is interested in joining me in pursuing studying this possible correlation, please contact me at Reelty@aol.com and mention diapers and autism in the subject line.
1. Spike in number of autism cases is correlated with common adoption of diapers
2. Autism rates are higher in developed countries where all ppl can afford buying diapers
3. Autism affects boys more than girls, oddly enough, diapers are also used on the body parts differentiating boys from girls.
Isn't that one too many coincidences to disregard?
I wonder how the study was able to find the representative number of kids raised without diapers in this country in the last 20 years or so...
Thank you for asking this question. I recently watched a video and the presenter was talking about the brain. For some reason he was using disposable diapers as an example of something or other, and he mentioned how they are full of polymers that absorb liquid. Immediately it popped into my head that since the skin is an organ capable of absorbing, and since the polymers in the disposable diapers are activated when they come into contact with liquid, could this be a possible answer to the increase in autism. For anyone to "shush" this and "brush it off" as not be a possibility is not being scientific. Like the other person who responded about the increase in autism coinciding with the years that the disposable diaper companies improved the absorbency of their product, I am strongly suspicious disposable diapers may very well be one of the causes of autism. It should be studied.