Pollution Problems

Pollution Problems                                                                                                                        effectus inconditus

Heavy traffic

The BBC recently reported on a study conducted by the University of Southern California that links traffic pollution and autism. The study compared exposure to pollution in the womb and during the first year of life in over 500 children. The researchers had “previously shown a link between autism and living close to major roads.” This study found that “children in homes exposed to the most pollution were three times as likely to have autism compared with children residing in homes with the lowest exposure.”

Although this is very convincing evidence that pollutants can affect the developing brain in such a way that results in autism, researchers acknowledge that “it is difficult to account for every aspect of life which might affect the probability of developing autism, such as family history.” In essence that means the researchers can’t flat-out say “traffic pollution causes autism.”

They are able to state the obvious very well, though: “We know that traffic-related air pollution can contribute to many other diseases and conditions, and it is biologically plausible it also has a role in pathways of autism. However, whether or not the potential association between autism and traffic-related air pollution exists, reduction of traffic-related air pollution would be good for public health.”

-IS

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