Currently, the environment quality in Indonesia is declining do to naturally process (anthropogenic) such as disaster, volcanic eruption, earthquake and tsunami, or manmade (floods, landslides) associated with deforestation including industrialization, mining, agriculture and plantation. The pollutant, mainly the heavy metals (As,Hg,Cd,Pb) can affect the health of human, particularly if the level exceed the maximum contamination limit. The disease manifestation due to those metal in the human body depend on the chemical reaction in the organ. One of the disease allegedly related to environmental factors is autism.
This study was conducted to look the environmental cause of autism especially from heavy metals Arsenic (As), Mercury (Hg), Cadmium (Cd) and Lead (Pb) by measuring heavy metals levels in fish, vegetables, water, soil and heavy metals levels in hair of autism sufferers and control in Bantul Regency. A case-control study design was conducted by sampling fish, vegetables, water, soil and hair on September 18, 2017. Fish and vegetables were taken from 3 location, water and soil were taken from 4 location. While hair samples were taken from 30 autisim children and 10 non autism control. All of these sample were measured for heavy metals at The Laboratory (As and Hg by Neutron Activation analysis, while Cd and Pb by Atomic Absorbtion Spectrometry method).
Laboratory analysis was found the heavy metals with high levels and even axceeding the limit of contamination were mercury in fish, Mercury in vegetables and Lead in waters. While the hair was found to have heavy metals levels in the four types of heavy metals : Arsenic, Mercury, Cadmium and Lead.By statistical analysis, it was found that heavy metals (As, Hg, Pb) in autistic sufferers hair were higher than controls’s, while Cd hair levels were equal between two groups. Is there any direct correlation between heavy metals in environment and heavy metal levels in autism hair, and how the heavy metals entered the children’s bodies so could be detected in the hair, further research still needs?