Girl Planting seeds

Research Study Mapping Contaminants Associated with Autism in New Jersey

By Angela Wilson
January 12, 2015 Phone:  551-996-3610
Hackensack, NJ – The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® located at Hackensack University Medical Center has published a research study, funded by the CDC, entitled “Mapping Contaminants Associated with Autism: A Public Health Pilot in New Jersey” in the Journal of Geographic Information System.  The publication, for the first time, details New Jersey maps of eight of the most prevalent toxins potentially linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): arsenic, lead, manganese, mercury, organophosphate pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride.
“In northern NJ, there were approximately 4,600 Known Contaminated Sites of New Jersey (KCSNJ) where these toxins were detected. A total of 269,790 sample detections were identified. Our objective was to identify and map these sites, and identify methods by which more robust contaminant data could be collected and analyzed. This study resulted in eight original maps showing sample detections,” said study leader, Erin Speiser Ihde, MA, CCRP, Research/Project Manager at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center®. “These maps will be useful for monitoring and dissemination, as well as for future analyses exploring links between ASDs and these toxins.”
The CDC reports that NJ has the highest prevalence rate of autism among states surveyed, with approximately one in 45 children diagnosed as of 2010. 
"This is one significant step in addressing the issues of toxins and public health,” said Deirdre Imus, founder and president of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at HackensackUMC. “We hope to inspire other researchers to examine environmental factors as we all move forward in helping to protect our kids.”
This study resulted in eight original maps showing sample detections of contaminants. These maps will aid researchers and public health advocates in future analyses exploring links between autism and these toxins. Concentrations of multiple toxins associated with ASDs were most dense near urban industrial or mixed residential/industrial areas, though no conclusions can be made regarding association or causality between the sample detections and autism. Based in part on this study, NJDEP has made and will continue to make improvements to contaminant data collection systems.
Lawrence D. Rosen, M.D., medical advisor for The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at HackensackUMC and principal investigator for the study adds, “This study demonstrates a clear need to further examine the relationship between environmental toxins and the high prevalence of autism in New Jersey."  
The study was completed by The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at HackensackUMC in conjunction with the Department of Research, David & Alice Jurist Institute for Research at HackensackUMC; the Department of Mathematical Sciences, NJ Institute of Technology; and the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute. 
About The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at HackensackUMC
The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack University Medical Center  represents one of the first hospital-based programs whose specific mission is to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children's health. 
About Hackensack University Medical Center
HackensackUMC, a nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,250 beds, nearly 10,000 employees and 2,700 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in theU.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospital rankings for 2014-15. It is one of the top 30 hospitals in the nation by receiving 11 national specialty rankings, including a national ranking for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Neurology and Neurosurgery in the 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals. The children’s hospital is housed with the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital in the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center, and was included on theGreen Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S.HackensackUMC is among Healthgrades® America’s Best 100 Hospitals in five different areas, is one ofHealthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ for eight years in a row, and received the HealthgradesDistinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 12 years in a row. The medical center has also been named a Leapfrog Top Hospital, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by the Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament and the NY/NJ Super Bowl XLV111 Host Committee. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events.
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