Autism -
Could it be caused by radiofrequency exposure during vulnerable developmental periods?

I am not a doctor and no information on this page should be construed as medical advice. I am merely pulling together a diverse array of information related to autism and trying to show the links that I see. Each person is responsible for their own use of the information and consulting with their doctors as needed.

Autism rates continue to rise. In 2012, it hit 1 in 50 children being diagnosed with autism. This statistic could make it seem random and evenly distributed. This is not necessarily true. In a recent conversation I found out that there are families with 2, 3, and 5 children that are autistic - in fact all the children in those families are autistic. Since it can "run" in families an easy assumption is that it is genetic. Or, not! Families share more than genetics. They share environment.

I love the example in Devra Davis' book The Secret History of the War on Cancer:

    "Everyone knows that cancer can run in families. Take the Steingrabers of Illinois, the family of the lyrical environmental writer Sandra Steingraber, author of Living Downstream and Having Faith. Hers was a cancer-prone family for sure. The writer-daughter, her mother, three uncles, and a first cousin all got the disease. Could their shared disease have something to do with the pesticide-sodden wheat and cornfields of Illinois, and the the huge grain silos surrounding their small town? We can’t say. But we do know it had nothing to do with shared genes: Sandra and all those with cancer in her family are not related by blood.

    Identical twins come from the same egg and share more chromosomes than any other two humans. They are as close to cloning as exists in nature. Despite their similar roots, identical twins do not have identical cancers. Cancer does run in families, but for those who are adopted, like Steingraber, the risk of the disease mirrors that of the families in which they grow up, not those into which they were born." (Bold emphasis added)

This passage shows the fallacy of concluding that familial health outcomes necessarily relate to genetics. There is good reason to believe that the major cause of the autism epidemic is not genetic. The rapidly increasing rate is one such reason. The rate of a genetically induced disease should take generations to rise, not rise rapidly on an annual basis. That sort of rise suggests an environmental trigger. I propose radiofrequency exposure as the environmental factor. Radiofrequency exposure can come from electrical pollution or from wireless technology.

We have changed our environmental exposures to radiofrequencies markedly in the last 35 years in ways that people are unaware of because they are both so prosaic to us, especially now, and because the exposure in invisible to us. In the 1970's we began using energy efficient lights, causing a dramatic increase in RF exposures from "dirty" electricity. In the late 1980's to early 1990's, the home computer became common and numbers in homes increased, again resulting in a dramatic increase in RF exposures from "dirty" electricity. The passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act paved the way for the widespread use of wireless technology which has dramatically, possibly exponentially, increased exposure to transmitted RF radiation. Electrical pollution levels have further worsened as the use of dimmer switches, electronics, variable speed motors, compact fluorescent light bulbs and other polluting technology increased.

Ambient radiofrequency radiation levels from wireless devices have increased dramatically over the last several years, even the last year has seen a marked increase in ambient levels. Furthermore, wireless devices are now carried by almost everyone, including pregnant women, in complete oblivion of the serious health risks. Use of wireless baby monitors, usually DECT, is highly encouraged in the mistaken belief that the monitors are themselves benign and therefore the convenience of being able to leave the baby alone out of normal earshot does not carry a steep price.

Robert Kane, Ph.D suggested a link between exposure to radio frequencies and the rise in autism in his paper "A Possible Association Between Fetal/neonatal Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation and the Increased Incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders". There are reasons to believe that Dr. Kane was correct. The fact that mercury is out of vaccines and the rate is continuing to increase and has increased more or less in parallel to the increasing rate of exposure to high frequencies and EMF is suggestive. As is the fact that the Amish Community has not experienced a similar increase in the rate of autism, according to this news story which blames vaccines for the difference - since the Amish don't vaccinate. Epidemiological studies have linked pre and postnatal maternal use of cellphones to behavioral problems and headaches in children. A controlled mouse study found similar results ( You might want to watch a video featuring the lead author Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, professor and chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences A study documenting hormone and neurotransmitter levels found that exposure to the pulsed modulated microwave radiation emitted by wireless devices, radiofrequency (RF) radiation, changes those levels in ways which provide additional evidence that radiation from wireless devices is causing ADD/ADHD,

    "While we aggressively investigate the links between autism disorders and wireless technologies, we should minimize wireless and EMF exposures for people with autism disorders, children of all ages, people planning a baby, and during pregnancy," says Martha Herbert, MD, PhD. (quote from a press release for the 2012 BioInitiative report found at See Section 20 for her review of the Autism literature )

In the book The Brain that Changes Itself( the author, Norman Doidge M.D., discusses the research of Michael Merzenich into brain plasticity. Dr. Merzenich has found that many of the symptoms of autism can be explained by the developing brain getting locked into an undifferentiated brain map prematurely. The book cites a study that found that continuous exposure to white noise could contribute to this happening in susceptible children. The mechanism is unlikely to be specific to noise and likely to be responsive to any exposure to large amounts of high frequencies (such as electrical pollution and transmitters). The book is fascinating and I highly recommend reading it.

Dr. Merzenich has developed a treatment that is based on the premise high frequency exposure causes autism by closing developmental windows. They have found it to be far more effective than they had originally hoped. The effectiveness would back up the link Kane suggests between autism and radiofrequency exposure since it targets developmental damage caused by the effects of high frequency exposure during vulnerable developmental windows. The treatment Dr. Merzenich has developed is a special computer program. It is very simple and aims at re-opening developmental windows and properly differentiating the portions of the brain involved. You can read about Fast Forward at the the Scientific Learning Corporation website. You can hear a radio show about autism and Dr. Merzenich’s finding at

If you decide to try to use Fast Forward, please make sure that the child is using it in a very clean RF environment and that the computer is as "clean" RF-wise as possible. I would recommend using speakers placed away from the child in a quiet room, instead of the head set, and a simple microphone that is not attached to the child. Please see the Solutions page at for steps to create a clean RF environment.

All this information suggests that autism may well be a combination of radiofrequency sickness and developmental damage (some or much of which is reversible with hard work). In addition to the parallels cited by Nancy Sarangan in her article (, demonstrating the parallels in research findings between autism and radiofrequency radiation health effects, there are anecdotal reports that cleaning up the RF environments of autistic children results in behavioral improvements. Recently published papers - “Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a Pathophysiological Link – Part I” and “Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a Pathophysiological Link part II” - provide additional evidence of a parallel between the research findings on RF radiation exposure and findings in autism research. Please take time to read the papers. They may offer clues to approaches to try, after eliminating RF exposure as much as possible, in order to support a return to normal physiology.

You might want to watch this short video which discusses autism and wireless devices. It and its associated short videos show how noxious various wireless devices are. It may help in understanding how they can be harmful.

In a presentation, which can be found at, microwave weapons expert Barrie Trower discusses the hazards of wireless technology. In section 7, he discusses the extremely detrimental effects on children.

Eliminating/minimizing RF exposure needs to be done systematically and results documented so that if, as I hypothesize, autism is caused primarily by the exposure of children during vulnerable developmental periods, we as a society can find out now and stop maiming our children. If you make changes, please keep a diary so you can coherently communicate the results to your child's doctor.

Please see Children and RF Sickness for further information about manifestations of RF sickness in children.

Visit the Solutions page at for a list of steps you can take to reduce your exposure to radiofrequencies in your home and work environments.

Last updated April 22, 2014