Brinkley speaks out on pollution, autism

Christie Brinkley arrives at the Einstein Medical College's

Christie Brinkley arrives at the Einstein Medical College's Family Day held at The Ross School Sunday in Bridgehampton. (Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

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Christie Brinkley has been speaking out about the environment and calling for more research into childhood health disorders - and Sunday she linked those two causes, saying she suspects that pollution is one of the causes of autism and other developmental problems.

"I think it's all related - it's silly to think we're not affected by our environment," she said in an interview at a carnival in Bridgehampton held to benefit Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women's division, which oversees research into children's health issues and treatments. "We all know the expression, 'You are what you eat.' Well, you put together the entire environmental cocktail we've been subjected to, and it's dangerous."

Wearing Ralph Lauren jeans with her plaid shirttails tied above her waist, Brinkley was standing next to her restored 1979 Ford pickup truck as she spoke. She was preparing to welcome guests to the Wild, Wild West carnival, which featured pony rides and cupcake-making.

Brinkley toured the carnival, which raises tens of thousands of dollars a year for research and treatment of autism, and language and learning disorders. She estimated that attendance was down slightly from last year, perhaps because of the threatening gray skies or because of families' reluctance to spend $100 and up for tickets.

Brinkley quipped that she's been so busy that she got dressed in her Western garb and drove to Ross School, where the carnival was held, on Saturday - a day early.

Just a year ago, reporters at the carnival peppered Brinkley with questions about her divorce from Peter Cook, which had included salacious allegations of his high-cost pornography viewing. On Sunday, though, the questions were more upbeat. A television reporter wanted to know her favorite ice cream flavor (vanilla chocolate chip) and her favorite summer drink (coconut water).

"I think everybody knows I won't talk about any of that," she said, when asked about her personal life. "I really want to keep the focus on the groups that I'm lucky enough to amplify the message of."

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