Chelation (also known as detoxification or detox) is a medical procedure used to remove toxic substances (such as heavy metals like mercury or lead) from the body.
Chelation involves using one or more 'chelators' (chemicals such as DMSA, DMPS, EDTA, or N-acetylcysteine) to remove the toxic substances from the body.
Some people think that the symptoms of autism are caused by, or made worse by, the presence of toxic substances.
They also think that those symptoms can be reduced through the use of chelation.
We have seen news reports which suggest that chelation can lead to significant damage, including death, in some individuals. For example, one five year old child with autism reportedly died from hypocalcaemia after receiving edetate disodium instead of edetate calcium disodium.
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) made the following recommendations:
'Do not use chelation for the management of core symptoms of autism in adults.' (NICE, 2012)
'Do not use [chelation] to manage autism in any context in children and young people' (NICE, 2013)