In order to prevent panic among parents in urban areas, US media is quick to point out that the study doesn't "prove" that autism is caused by air pollution, but the findings are scientific and a big cause for concern IMO. As with the link already found regarding young kids and asthma who live near freeways in Los Angeles, it now seems that kids who are exposed to higher levels of air pollution before their first birthday are 3 times more likely than kids not living in geographic areas with higher pollution to have autism.
This comes as no surprise to me. It's always been my belief that exposure to pollution in young kids is the reason behind the increase in autism, and I think certain interests in our society have gone to great lengths to find "other reasons" for it since pollution is such a difficult problem to tackle. But you can't expect kids to be forced to nurse on exhaust pipes and not suffer the consequences. It's just common sense. Sucking on exhaust pipes is a method of suicide, not a way to raise our kids.
Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy ["and the first year of birth."] may increase the likelihood a child will develop autism, according to a new study.I've always felt that autism and other learning disabilities and behavior problems were likely caused by the irresponsible levels of pollution in our modern society, and I think it's the best argument that can be made to reduce the pollution our culture puts into the air and water.
"Although additional research to replicate these findings is needed, the public health implications of these findings are large because air pollution exposure is common and may have lasting neurological effects," wrote the study's authors led by Dr. Heather E. Volk, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
The researchers found that kids who were exposed to highest levels of traffic-related air pollution were three times more likely to have autism compared with children living in homes with the lowest exposure. Autism risk was also increased for children who were exposed to higher levels of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.
Nitrogen dioxide comes from gas stoves, heaters and tobacco smoke, according to the EPA. Particulate matter is a term used to describe solid and liquid droplets found in the air that may include dust from roads, soot from combustion sources and particles formed from gas emissions.
If further study reinforces these findings, and it turns out that our greed and gluttony regarding fossil fuels is responsible for giving our kids autism, then we are truly flirting with evil in its most rank form - and we must change, immediately, no matter the financial cost. IMO, children have a Civil Right not to be given asthma much less autism by polluters in our society.
1:19 PM PT: People should be more careful in their comments here IMO. This study isn't making any claims regarding total pollution levels. This is about proximity, type, and the levels of air pollution for those unfortunates who live along our increasingly congested traffic corridors vs those who don't. If you're comfortable with fortunate kids who's parents don't have to live in these areas being healthy and poorer kids getting autism, then by all means ignore this study on the basis that overall pollution levels (of certain typologies) have gone down in some areas since the 70's. That's great for wealthier families who can drive through poor neighborhoods, give the kids autism, and then relax back at the homestead. But IMO, it's pretty damn evil.