Autism - A spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, and unusual and repetitive behavior. Some, but not all, people with autism are non-verbal.


No scientific consensus exists about what causes autism. Some research has suggested links between undetermined genetic factors, maternal diabetes, certain viruses, and exposures to alcohol and tobacco smoke. While one ongoing study by Columbia University researchers has suggested that chlorpyrifos-specific prenatal exposures may contribute to autism, inherent limitations in study design and exposure assessment limit the confidence that can be placed on these findings, and the authors themselves have noted that their findings should be interpreted with caution. The weight of the evidence continues to demonstrate no link between chlorpyrifos and autism, and no data exist to substantiate such a claim.

Further Resources

“Are Pesticides a Key Driver of the Autism Increase?” Forbes, 2012.

Li, A.A., et al., “Evaluation of epidemiology and animal data for risk assessment: chlorpyrifos developmental neurobehavioral outcomes.” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B Critical Reviews, 2012, Volume 15(2):109-184.

Felsot, A.S. “Pesticides and Health: Myths vs. Realities”, American Council on Science and Health, 2011.


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