Autism Linked to Man-Made Climate Change

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AutismAutism has been linked to man-made toxic pollutants in the air, a symptom of global warming and climate change. Researchers at University of Pittsburgh have published a new study on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the journal of The American Association of Aerosol Research. It was also published in a press release by Heinz Endowments.

Autism spectrum disorders are described as a neurological, developmental disorder that manifests itself in several different ways, because of the different symptomologies associated with this disease. This “spectrum” constitutes numerous developmental disabilities, such as the inability to communicate easily with others, social anxiety, dyslexia, obsessive compulsive disorder and other very repetitive behaviors. ASD sufferers may have difficulty learning and speaking with others, and sometimes appear to be living in a world of their own making. Asperger Syndrome is now included on the list of ASD related disorders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network estimates that 15 out of every 1000 children born in the U.S. is born with an ASD related disorder. Additional facts include; the incidence of ASD is 5 times higher for boys than for girls and the disorder crosses all racial, ethnic and social barriers. Roughly 17 children out of 100 born in the U.S. between years 2006-2008 had some sort of developmental disability at birth. These statistics are somewhat subjective as ASD is normally detected after four years old, while Asperger Syndrome typically precludes diagnosis before the age of six.

According to a press release from the Heinz Endowments, it appears that the mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder were exposed to a number of man-made chemicals and toxins that are the direct result of man-made climate change and global warming events while pregnant, and this may be responsible for their children developing an ASD. These toxins in the atmosphere are man-made hydrocarbons, and are directly linked to global warming, climate change and now it would appear, ASD.

The study was funded from an endowment from Heinz Endowments, and lead study author Dr. Evelyn Talbot was the principle investigator. Dr Talbot is a Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. The pervasiveness of ASD related disabilities is, “a major public health problem” said Talbot, adding that the incidence of this disease has, “increased dramatically.” She indicated that previous ASD related studies have left out the, “environmental exposures” of the pregnant mothers when considering the risk factors involved. She added that she feels that scientists need to acknowledge “air toxins” as a major risk factor for ASD.

The study participants numbered 217 children, most of which had been closely monitored since birth for ASD related conditions, with two control groups for a double blind survey, comparing the same “Toxic” neighborhoods were some children didn’t have the disorder, and some did. The study established that a 1.4 to two-fold increased risk factor for ASD existed for the study participants. The mothers and the children were tested for exposure to chromium, cyanide, styrene, methylene chloride, arsenic and methanol. All these chemicals are produced by heavy industry and car emissions, and are not found in large enough quantities in nature to have any effect on the pregnant mother. This fact advances the theory that man-made climate change and global warming type events like car emissions and heavy industrial manufacturing will forever be linked to autism spectrum disorders.

By Jim Donahue

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

The Heinz Endowments

American Association for Aerosol Research


Medline Plus


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Image Credit:

Uwe Hermann


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