Desperately seeking to mitigate their children’s autism, some parents are turning to an industrial chemical marketed as a dietary supplement.

The supplement known as OSR#1 was originally developed as a chemical used to pull heavy metals from soil and polluted mines. It is now sold in pill form to be used as an antioxidant and many parents are giving it to their children with autism.

The practice is linked to the belief that autism is caused by the existence of toxic metals in the body stemming from mercury in childhood vaccines and other sources. Though science has disproved this theory, many parents continue to seek out various forms of chelation, which pulls heavy metals from the body.

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There are no studies looking at the effects of human consumption of OSR#1, but because it is sold as a dietary supplement, the Food and Drug Administration does not require the same level of safety testing that a traditional drug would undergo.

Parents report success with OSR#1 on various autism blogs, but doctors are concerned about the use of an untested chemical in children.

Meanwhile, the FDA requested more information from the manufacturer of OSR#1 about the product’s safety in 2008 and has yet to receive a response, reports the Chicago Tribune. To read more click here.