Traffic-Related Air Pollution, Particulate Matter, and Autism

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.
JAMA Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 12.01). 01/2013; 70(1):71-7. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.266
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Autism is a heterogeneous disorder with genetic and environmental factors likely contributing to its origins. Examination of hazardous pollutants has suggested the importance of air toxics in the etiology of autism, yet little research has examined its association with local levels of air pollution using residence-specific exposure assignments.
To examine the relationship between traffic-related air pollution, air quality, and autism.
This population-based case-control study includes data obtained from children with autism and control children with typical development who were enrolled in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment study in California. The mother's address from the birth certificate and addresses reported from a residential history questionnaire were used to estimate exposure for each trimester of pregnancy and first year of life. Traffic-related air pollution was assigned to each location using a line-source air-quality dispersion model. Regional air pollutant measures were based on the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality System data. Logistic regression models compared estimated and measured pollutant levels for children with autism and for control children with typical development.
Case-control study from California.
A total of 279 children with autism and a total of 245 control children with typical development.
Crude and multivariable adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for autism.
Children with autism were more likely to live at residences that had the highest quartile of exposure to traffic-related air pollution, during gestation (AOR, 1.98 [95% CI, 1.20-3.31]) and during the first year of life (AOR, 3.10 [95% CI, 1.76-5.57]), compared with control children. Regional exposure measures of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter less than 2.5 and 10 μm in diameter (PM2.5 and PM10) were also associated with autism during gestation (exposure to nitrogen dioxide: AOR, 1.81 [95% CI, 1.37-3.09]; exposure to PM2.5: AOR, 2.08 [95% CI, 1.93-2.25]; exposure to PM10: AOR, 2.17 [95% CI, 1.49-3.16) and during the first year of life (exposure to nitrogen dioxide: AOR, 2.06 [95% CI, 1.37-3.09]; exposure to PM2.5: AOR, 2.12 [95% CI, 1.45-3.10]; exposure to PM10: AOR, 2.14 [95% CI, 1.46-3.12]). All regional pollutant estimates were scaled to twice the standard deviation of the distribution for all pregnancy estimates.
Exposure to traffic-related air pollution, nitrogen dioxide, PM2.5, and PM10 during pregnancy and during the first year of life was associated with autism. Further epidemiological and toxicological examinations of likely biological pathways will help determine whether these associations are causal.

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Available from: Heather E Volk, Sep 01, 2015
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    • "Near traffic exposures to air pollution have been documented to cause an array of health effects (Brugge, Durant, and Rioux 2007; Brown et al. 2012; Cakmak et al. 2012; Gauderman et al. 2007; Health Effects Institute 2010; Janssen et al. 2011; von Klot et al. 2011; Laumbach and Kipen 2012; McConnell et al. 2006, 2010; Meng et al. 2007; Lindgren et al. 2009; Rosenbloom et al. 2012; Ryan et al. 2009; Sucharew et al. 2010; Volk et al. 2013; Von Behren et al. 2008; Weng et al. 2008; Wilhelm et al. 2011, 2012; Wilhelm and Ritz 2003; Wu et al. 2009; Yorifuji et al. 2011). Respiratory illness, asthma, cardiovascular disease, increased mortality, and adverse birth outcomes are only some of the health effects associated with living and working near high-traffic areas (Baccarelli et al. 2009; Health Effects Institute 2010; Ritz et al. 2007; Salam, Islam, and Gilliland 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Delays and community traffic problems associated with US–Mexican border ports of entry have been criticized for causing economic losses and increasing social stressors. This paper draws attention to an overlooked issue, the potential for adverse health effects associated with being exposed to localized high levels of traffic pollutants on border crossers and nearby communities at ports of entry along the US–Mexican border. The literature on health effects of exposure to near-road traffic pollution is incorporated into an analysis of the situation along the US–Mexican border. This paper synthesizes the information available regarding excessive wait times at the border and describes preliminary studies linking these delays to elevated traffic pollution levels. We frame exposure to traffic pollutants at US–Mexican ports of entry as an environmental justice issue in that the burden of exposures and associated risks of health effects is borne by nearby low income minority communities. Mitigation strategies are explored and reduction of border crossing wait times is identified as the most feasible action. Adverse effects of exposure to near traffic pollution are likely applicable to congested borders throughout the world
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    • "They found that children who lived within 309 m ( $ 1000 feet) of a freeway (birth address) had 1.86 the odds (95% CI ¼1.04–3.45) of having autism as children who lived 41149 m from a freeway, after adjusting for smoking during pregnancy, gender, ethnicity, education of parents and maternal age. The second study (Volk et al., 2013) used modelbased estimates of traffic related air pollution and EPA air quality system data for PM 2.5 , PM 10 , ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. Children with autism were more likely to have lived at residences that had the highest quartile of exposure to traffic-related air pollutants during gestation (OR ¼1.98, 95% CI ¼1.20–3.31) "
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    Environmental Research 05/2015; 140:414-420. DOI:10.1016/j.envres.2015.04.021 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    • "This sharp increase could be partly attributed to better diagnosis due to improved diagnostic criteria and increased awareness, but it cannot account for the exponential increase. Research studies into prenatal exposure to environmental contaminants such as pollution, proximity to highways , and maternal occupation, have acquired heightened interest as a possible role in the etiology of autism [55] [56] [57] [58] [59]. A recent study of identical twins reported that genetics accounted for only 38% of autism risk, with environmental factors explaining the remaining 62% [60]. "
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