The Influence of Heavy Metal Levels on Autism Case in Bontang and Samarinda City, East Kalimantan – Indonesia
AbstractAutism is a disorder of pervasive development in children, which until now, the exact cause is unknown. The strongest allegations are genetic and environmental factors, especially heavy metals. To observe the influence of the environment (heavy metals) on the incidence of autism in two cities located in East Kalimantan (Bontang and Samarinda). measurements of heavy metal levels were carried out in each of the 30 autistic children and 10 control children respectively. Furthermore, with a case control study design, a comparison between the levels of heavy metals in autistic patients' hair and hair control was done. Also by measuring the levels of heavy metals in shells, fish, vegetables, water and soil and comparing the results with heavy metals in the hair. As the results, the levels of arsenic (As), mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb) were higher in autism children’s compared to controls, but cadmium (Cd) levels were no difference between autistic and control hair, both in Samarinda and Bontang. Likewise, in environmental samples (shellfish, fish, vegetables, water and soil) there was an elevation of As, Hg, and Pb levels in some samples which corresponded to As, Hg and Pb levels in autistic sufferers' hair, but there were no environmental samples were found to have high levels of cadmium. This is also in accordance with the cadmium levels in sufferers'hair and control. High levels of heavy metals detected in children with ASDs at two cities in East Kalimantan indicate a correlation with environmental exposure. Further comprehensive investigations are recommended to assess environmental hazards at this location.
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