Could parental exposure to solvents at work be linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their children? According to an exploratory study by Erin McCanlies, a research epidemiologist from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and colleagues, such exposures could play a role, but more research would be needed to confirm an association.
Their pilot study is published online in Springer’s Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
The experts’ assessment indicated that exposures to lacquer, varnish and xylene occurred more often in the parents of children with ASD compared to the parents of unaffected children. Parents of children with ASD were also more likely to report exposures to asphalt and solvents, compared to parents of unaffected children. All of these exposures fall into the broader category of solvents, or solvent-containing products.