Toxins in Foods & the Environment


Things That Should Be Avoided For ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Kids


Strong scientific evidence suggests these substances could cause brain damage in children, adolescents and adults; with strong emphasis on children and elderly individuals. They may affect the development of a child's nervous system; resulting in learning disabilities and emotional difficulties later in life. It has also been determined that the placental barrier is not an absolute barrier to the passage of excitotoxins; some like cysteine can easily pass through from mother to child and damage the developing brain of the baby.

Excitotoxins include MSG, Aspartame and all other sugar substitutes, aspartate, Cysteine, cysteic acid.

Things that help to repair excitotoxin damage: CoQ10, acetyl-L carnitine, niacinamide, riboflavin, methylcobalamin, and thiamine. Read Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, by Russell L. Blaylock, M.D. (ISBN #0-929173-25-2)


The following are other names for MSG -monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed protein; hydrolyzed plant extract, plant protein extract, sodium caseinate, yeast extract, texturized protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed oat flour, calcium caseinate.

Things that may help combat an MSG reaction – B12 and B6 vitamins, magnesium, taurine and digestive enzymes.

Aspartame and Other Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. Sucralose is basically chlorinated table sugar.

Aspartame accounts for more than 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious and include seizures and death.(1) Some of the 90 different documented symptoms reportedly caused by aspartame include: headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain. Aspartame is phenylalanine (50%), aspartic Acid (40%) and methanol (aka wood alcohol/poison) (10%).


Arsenic is in rice and rice milks. Non-organic rice and rice milks show levels of arsenic.

Arsenic is a poisonous chemical often used in herbicides and pesticides and is classified as a Class 1 carcinogen, meaning it is highly toxic to humans. Other Class 1 carcinogens include asbestos, formaldehyde and hepatitis B and C viruses. According to the EPA, “arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate”. Other side effects of consuming arsenic can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, partial paralysis and blindness.

Research published examined 60 samples of rice drinks and found low levels of arsenic in all of them. The level of total arsenic ranged from 0.010 - 0.034 milligram/kilogram and the levels of inorganic – the more harmful – form of arsenic ranged from 0.005 - 0.020 milligram/kilogram. The proportion of inorganic arsenic in the rice drink samples ranged from 48 - 63%. Read the Food Standards Agency article.

Levels of Arsenic in (Non-Organic) Rice in U.S. Concern Scientists

Arsenic levels in U.S. rice could pose health risk. U.S.-grown rice contains an average of 1.4 to 5 times the amount of arsenic found in rice from Europe, India, or Bangladesh.

To avoid arsenic, you should buy only organic, non-GM (Genetically Modified) rice and organic non-GM rice milk.


Foods containing nitrates or nitrites, like those in preserved meats, bacon, ham, hot dogs and pickles should be avoided, since children with autism are known to have higher levels of these toxic derivatives of nitric oxide stored in their bodies due to an inability to detoxify.  Also, nitrates in foods are proven to cause increased death rates in those with Parkinsons, Alzheimers and Diabetes. The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, found strong parallels between age adjusted increases in death rate from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes and the progressive increases in human exposure to nitrates, nitrites and nitrosamines through processed and preserved foods as well as fertilizers (thus making organic foods even MORE important).


Sulfites are used to prevent browning, caking or fermentation in foods and beverages. Food labeling laws say the label must state if sulfites are in the product. If you are eating at a restaurant, you will have to ask your server.

Foods that commonly contain sulfites: dried fruits like raisins, pre-cut potatoes, pickled foods, bottled lemon or lime juice, grape juice, jams with pectin, shrimp, sauerkraut, pre-made guacamole, wine, molasses and some medications.

What to look for on an ingredient label: Sulfur dioxide, Potassium bisulfite or potassium metabisulfite; Sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, or sodium sulfite.

People with asthma must avoid sulfites. True sulfite allergies are rare but people with other allergies are usually sensitive to sulfites. Reactions can range from difficulty breathing,  flushing, fast heartbeat, hives, wheezing, dizziness, stomach upset, diarrhea, collapse, tingling or difficulty swallowing, sneezing and swelling of the throat.


Soy is a legume that is grown and highly chemically processed, even the “organic” versions. Virtually all soybeans grown today are genetically modified.  Many countries outside the US won’t accept US-grown soy due to the carcinogenic chemicals and genetically modified status. Research has shown that the phytoestrogens in soy may play a role in breast cancer so it should be avoided by females. Raw soy flour is also known to cause pancreatic cancer in rats. Soy is also called soya outside the US.

HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

High Fructose Corn Syrup – Research by the IATP in 2009 shows a significant level of mercury in products that contain HFCS. HFCS is found in sweetened beverages, sodas, breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. When  making HFCS, caustic soda, among other things, is used, to separate corn starch from the corn kernel. For decades, HFCS has been made using mercury-grade caustic soda produced in industrial chlorine (chlor-alkali) plants. The use of mercury cells to produce caustic soda can contaminate caustic soda and ultimately HFCS with mercury. Currently, there is no way a consumer can tell where the HFCS (or any other ingredient) in their processed foods came from or how it was produced, so avoiding all products containing HFCS is the safest course of action.

Please be aware that some honey, because of the bee shortages, is now being diluted with HFCS. Your safest bet is to buy honey only from a local bee grower, and remember real honey will crystallize, honey with HFCS won’t. A label that says “Pure Honey”, “Organic” or “US Honey” doesn’t mean it’s safe.


Artificial colors and dyes have been proven many times to cause or exacerbate hyperactivity in children.  Dyes (water-soluble) and lakes (fat-soluble) include Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, and Yellow 6.

Some artificial dyes are carcinogenic and some are not vegetarian.


BHA, BHT and TBHQ are the main nasty preservatives found in foods.  They are generally used to keep fats from becoming rancid. It is also used as a yeast de-foaming agent. BHA is found in butter, meats, cereals, chewing gum, baked goods, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes, and beer. It is also found in animal feed, food packaging, cosmetics, rubber products, and petroleum products. TBHQ is commonly found in fast food products. As well as being carcinogenic, preservatives are also salicylates.


Foods containing salicylates include apples, apricots, berries, oranges, nectarines, grapes, peaches, plums, cucumbers, tea, and tomatoes. Phenol overload could include these symptoms: dark circles under the eyes, laughing at inappropriate times (especially at night), extra self-stimulatory behaviors, and other issues acting out.

From - Avoid anything - food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, art supplies -- that has any of the following ingredients: Synthetic/artificial colors and flavors [for example, FD&C colors, vanillin], BHA, BHT, TBHQ, [all the preceding are made from or related to petroleum], natural flavoring (may contain salicylate), natural coloring (may contain salicylate), aspirin and products containing aspirin or salicylic acid, salicylates, almonds, apples, apricots, berries (all), cherries, chili powder, cider & cider vinegar (apples), cloves, coffee, cucumbers & pickles, currants, grapes & raisins, nectarines, oranges, paprika, peaches, peppers (bell & chili), plums, prunes, tangerines, tea, tomatoes, wine & wine vinegar (grapes), oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate). Other items to consider are perfumes and fragrances, nitrites and nitrates, monosodium glutamate [MSG], hydrolized vegetable protein [may contain MSG], sulfites/sulfiting agents, benzoates, and corn syrup [made from hydrogen sulfide + corn starch and many other added chemicals].

Pesticides sprayed on food

Today’s grocery stores carry a dizzying array of fresh produce, which is wonderful; but can it can also be drenched in pesticides, which is awful; and not everything is available in organic. Here is a site that lists the foods highest in pesticide residues. You can use a veggie/fruit wash to clean your fresh produce as well. You can buy these at health food stores or make your own.

A homemade version:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 20 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)


Aluminum-lined Containers

There is research that shows that aluminum-lined containers (think Capri Sun, juice box or broth box containers) can leech aluminum. These should be avoided with ASD people. Use a thermos.

Feingold Diet

The Feingold diet for ADHD removes most additives, preservatives, colors, nitrates, etc.; and they have a great website. Many parents have modified the plain GFCFSF to also exclude the same foods excluded on Feingold.


Here are a few excerpts from the Living In A Toxic World article:

Fluoride – Fluoride is a neurotoxin and should not be consumed by children. Is implicated in thyroid disease, bone disease and arthritis. In the scale of toxicity, fluorides fall between arsenic and lead. Visit

Fluoride is in toothpaste, some mouthwashes and dental cleanings (ask that they only use pumice to clean your child’s teeth).  Schools routinely give children fluoride during “health services” so make sure you inform them IN WRITING that your child MUST NOT be given fluoride during health services.  Have this written into your child’s IEP.


ASD children have proven PST (phenol sulfur-transferase) issues and chlorine exacerbates these with increased behavioral problems.  Treatment options include rinsing off immediately after getting out of the pool, giving taurine, magnesium sulfate cream or Epsom salts baths.  The best way to avoid chlorine is to swim in the ocean.  If you have a pool, make it a salt water pool, or use a non-chlorine treatment like Bacquacil.


Acetaminophen shuts down the detoxification pathways in the liver which rids the body of metals and poisons.

Motrin, aka ibuprofen, is better for ASD kids if a pain reliever of fever reducer is needed.

Amalgam Dental Fillings

Mercury fillings. Have any amalgam fillings removed by a mercury-free dentist who has been specially trained in the methods used to limit the exposure to mercury during removal. Visit this by state listing of specialty dentists.