Truthout Interviews Dr. Brian Moench on Skyrocketing Autism Rates in the US

Child alone(Image: Sitting child via Shutterstock)Also see: Autism Nation: America’s Chemical Brain Drain

The author of Autism Nation discusses how environmental toxins, including Monsanto’s glyphosate, may be contributing to rocketing rates of autism in the US and the need for adopting the precautionary principle in chemical usage.

Brian Moench is a practicing physician and the president of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment who has been a strong advocate for a number of environmental causes, and wrote an article for Truthout examining toxins used in the ground and emitted in the air and their relation to the rise in autism rates. Utah is a lot like Los Angeles in terms of air quality. That is to say, the air quality in the Beehive State is horrible. The air pressure system (especially during the winter) traps carbon emissions and other pollutants in the lower atmosphere -contributing to spikes in respiratory ailments. Utah also has high rates of autism. But it’s not just air pollution that is a contributing factor, but also chemical toxins found in the most popular herbicide used in the United States: Roundup. Dr. Moench synthesizes some current medical research into a linkage between the toxins like glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup) and autism.

Monsanto is the maker of Roundup, and they are one of the top lobbyists in Washington DC. According to OpenSecrets, 18 out of 25 lobbyists for Monsanto had government jobs before working for them. The company also gives generously to politicians through their PAC, and some of those politicians own shares of Monsanto stock. With that kind of influence and power, how likely is it the government would regulate the maker of Roundup if evidence strongly suggests a correlation between glyphosate and autism? Some may say, “Not likely.”

However, the political system is not so rigged that it has completely shut out voices who demand regulation and further research into environmental factors contributing to autism. An initial step in the process is to be informed, and that’s what Dr. Moench is doing through his work on Truthout and as president of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.