The Mother of All FDA Fails

The FDA has never required drug safety assessment for fetal germline impact, even though FDA staff understand that gestational exposures can adversely affect developing germ cells. We must end this catastrophic omission, while also granting all Americans access to their own prenatal medical records.

Autism: A Genetic Epidemic

by Jill Escher

People say, "There's no such thing as a genetic epidemic."

They are wrong. While they are correct that these various disorders we lump together under the banner of "autism" are primarily though not exclusively genetic in nature, these genetic abnormalities are hardly normal or random. They are, for the most part, caused by environmental disruptions that occurred well before these children were conceived.

We have known for decades that genetic change can occur when environmental insults such as toxic chemicals, radiation, and endocrine disruptors impair the development of our gametes, resulting in de novo genetic or epigenetic abnormalities in the next generation.

And never in the millions of years of human evolution have we experienced a worse mass toxic event than the largely forgotten Prenatal Pharmaceutical Craze of the 20th century.  Synthetic chemicals, marketed as benign little pills, were essentially poured directly into the bodies of tens of millions (probably more than that) of pregnant women around the world. I was exposed to at least three synthetic hormone drugs in utero.  And you too may have been exposed to wacky and evolutionarily novel drugs during your embryonic development, the time of greatest vulnerability for our delicate germ cells.  The only difference between you and me is that I have my prenatal records, and you don't. I know you don't because so few of these records from the 1950s, 60s and 70s survive. 

And prenatal pharmaceuticals are just the start.  Agent Orange, to which millions of Americans and Vietnamese were exposed, alters germline epigenetics.  And pesticides, fungicides, flame retardants, PCBs, cigarette smoking, smog, radiation, and more and more mutagens and epimutagens that poured into our drugs, our food, our water, our air. Because these things screwed with the human germline, sometimes subtly but all too often acutely, we have epidemic of this bizarrely abnormal neurodevelopment in our kids.

Below are my slides from a March 2013 presentation about this at an autism science symposium.  I think they speak for themselves, but a video of my talk will also be posted soon to the UC Davis MIND Institute website for a bit more color commentary. Lots of stuff percolating out there about germline exposures and autism, thank God (and many awesome researchers of course) for shining a light on this issue and the insanity of it all.

That said, it's incredible to me that IMFAR 2013, the world's largest autism conference, taking place next month, has almost no discussion of gamete-environment impairment in the etiology of autism spectrum disorders.  It's like having a conference on babies born with flaps instead of arms and not bringing up thalidomide.

By the way, I certainly do not contend germline exposure is the only cause of the autism epidemic, but it's likely to be one of the biggies. Any thoughts or feedback can be emailed to

We should worry now, like yesterday. "It is estimated that between 1958-1965 half of all new mothers (US) took two to four pharmaceutical products while pregnant." (Annie Murphy Paul, "Origins," pp 79-80.)


  1. Hummmm ..... where to begin? I am a 73 year old with Autism. My older brother also has Autism. My oldest sister tells me stories of life with a brother and a little sister (me) with Autism. WOW did she and our parents have it rough! What you say is correct to a degree. Personally, as a small child to teen and for the last 50 years I have eaten real Organic food. The period I ate main stream I became very ill and was given 6 months to live so I started eating Organic vegetarian and became healthy. Then I ate grass fed meat for awhile with a lot of Organic vegies and did fine. I am a type "O" blood so I could handle the meat As I have gotten older I find Organic Vegan is a good choice for me. I look and feel about 53. By-the-way, I only drink purified and have done so for 50 years. I don't even brush my teeth with tape water! Now I am drinking Alkaline water as I am older and it works very nice for me. Back to the Autism .... 1st of all it is NOT a disease! There is nothing to cure or fix! It is all about frequency in our environment! I am a Reconnective Healer and find frequency has a lot to do with everyone's well being. To really understand Autism, I would suggest you go on line and get to know Suzy Miller . com Suzy really understands us and has been a major help to parents in understanding what Autism is all about and how to live with an Austic child. I have had personal sessions with her and find her refreshing and extremely helpful to everyone. She has free calls you can listen in to and a Q & A time also. I have come a long way in functioning in your world but it has been a hard journey. Please don't make it hard for your children by trying to fix or change them! It just won't work that way. Read Suzy's book on "Awesomism." Hope this is helpful. Sincerely, G.J.

  2. Hello, i don't know how old this blog is. This is my first time here. I live in Australia and have been studying exactly this for nearly five months. I am dangerously ill with a Auto Immune Disorder. October 23 rd last year my mother told me she was given Distaval when she was pregnant with me. My son has a form of Autism. High functioning but hard work for me. He has a lot of 'Hats'. 25 year old and still with me. He can't cope with change like moving to another home. Psychiatrist said he was 'on the spectrum' when he was 9 year old. He is a School Teacher amongst other 'Hats' First choice Professional Cowboy and Horse Trainer. Gifted self taught guitarist. No family influence. He is in denial that he has any abnormality what so ever. He is also a first class football player. I have been trying to help him but I am deteriorating and there is no help. I did far too much for him and his sister when they were younger. That is the mother he knows, not this disabled one. His brain will not let him help me because that would mean I have changed. He happily helps anyone. No amount of money, bribing, shaming, bullying, blackmailing, begging, threatening, reasoning, dealing, not ANYTHING will get him to help me with a domestic duty. He just can not do it. He has broke down and cried. He can not do it. It just isn't there. His Dad betrayed him when he was 8 years old. I believe he suffered a brain injury. I do not have the resources for Professionals atm because I am unable to work. Does anyone have any suggestions? He has a girlfriend but she does not believe me. I don't even know if my email comes up. Am I dreaming? lol


    1. Nicole contact me and we'll see how I can help you :)

  3. There's no such thing as a STRICTLY genetic epidemic.

  4. If you examine this retrospective epidemiologic study you may gain some insight into autism.

    "In New Delhi, India, prior to 2000, ASD/PDD (autism spectrum disorder/pervasive developmental disorder) symptoms were rare – typically only occurring in children who were vaccinated abroad. However, after the Indian pediatricians began recommending, in 2000, the addition of triple-dose Thimerosal-preserved Hib (Haemophilis influenza B) and Hep B (hepatitis B) vaccination programs to the existing Thimerosal-preserved triple dose DTP (diphtheria toxin, tetanus toxin and pertussis toxins) vaccination program recommended by the Government of India, the incidence of a childhood ASD/PDD diagnosis increased to 2 % to 4 % of vaccinated New Delhi children.” Doctor Paul King PhD,