Rebecca Skloot just facebooked this story:

Scientists Find ‘Baffling’ Link between Autism and Vinyl Flooring

Children who live in homes with vinyl floors, which can emit chemicals called phthalates, are more likely to have autism, according to research by Swedish and U.S. scientists published Monday.

The study of Swedish children is among the first to find an apparent connection between an environmental chemical and autism.

Obviously its been out for a few days, but I had not noticed it.


  1. #1 sarcastico
    April 12, 2009

    that is why I never had my kids vaccinated against vinyl flooring.

  2. #2 NewEnglandBob
    April 12, 2009


    I don’t find that amusing.

    This appears to be a serious study. I am sure more will follow.

  3. #3 Wayne Conrad
    April 12, 2009

    Link != causation. Yet.

    Remember Night Lights in your Child’s Room being Linked to Nearsightedness?. It turns out that Having nearsighted parents causes nearsightedness, more than any other factor. That, and chance. And nearsighted parents tend to put night lights in that kid’s rooms so they can see better at night.

  4. #4 Wayne Conrad
    April 12, 2009

    I goofed up the links. Here they are, hopefully correct:

    Night-light may lead to nearsightedness (CNN, 1999)

    Do Night Lights Cause Nearsightedness? (

  5. #5 Heraclides
    April 13, 2009

    Correlation != causation. Even the scientists who presented this result have been reported as saying this and cautioning that the result most likely means little. (I read this a little while ago on another blog. It’s been widely reported since and the general media seem to be doing their usual best to be ignorant of the nature of correlations.)

  6. #6 Socrates
    April 13, 2009

    What’s the deal with Parquet?

    Am I safe to go ahead and impregnate my wife?

    Or should we go out on the lawn to do it?

  7. #7 Nathan Myers
    April 14, 2009

    It’s actually willingness to do it on the lawn that is the risk factor. Vinyl flooring is just a proxy for that.