(NewsNation) — Tens of thousands of mothers are suing the makers of Tylenol in a class-action lawsuit that claims its use during pregnancy led babies to be born with autism.
A study from the NIH found that pregnancy exposure to acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol, may increase a child’s risk for autism and ADHD.
Karleen DeGroodt is among the mothers in the lawsuit and discussed her use of Tylenol during pregnancy and her son’s autism during an appearance on NewsNation’s “Prime.”
DeGroodt first started noticing that something was wrong with her son Devyn when he was an infant.
“He never had really good eye contact,” she said. “So that was one of the first clues. From there it was developmental milestones that he just didn’t meet, including things like talking in general and just understanding. He was definitely trapped in his own bubble.”
DeGroodt said genetic testing did not show a family history or cause of her son’s condition.
“We’ve developed a good team to try to figure out not only why, but what can we do to help him,” she said. “Everything has come back with no potential cause.”
Looking at recent research, DeGroodt said her use of Tylenol could have potentially been the link to her son’s autism.
“As of right now,” she said, “it’s the only possible thing that we have that it could account for his having autism.
A growing body of research suggests heavy use of acetaminophen during pregnancy may cause autism and ADHD, according to reports.
One big supporter of this movement has been consumer advocate Erin Brockovich, who was on NewsNation recently discussing this issue. Brockovich is a spokeswoman for Autism Justice, an organization dedicated to educating the public about the potentially harmful links.
“My work and working with these women is getting the voices of them and their concerns for their children heard when we have science, and it feels like it’s being suppressed or concealed once again,” Brockovich said.
DeGroodt said the lawsuit is “going to bring education to people so they can make the best choice for themselves.”
As a parent with a child with autism, DeGroodt said she went through a variety of emotions, “just like probably any parent who has a child who is disabled. There’s guilt there.”
“There was guilt there years ago before we even thought Tylenol or acetaminophen products could be a potential reason,” she said. “Yeah, looking back, I wish I knew. … Maybe I would have done things differently.”
DeGroodt said their fight is so important for many other families.
“At the end of the day, that’s all that this is about is potentially preventing this,” she said. “Educating people and seeing what we could do to make things better for these families.”