Harvard Study Links Autism to Air Pollution

A Harvard University study recently linked exposure to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy to autism, according to DisabilityScoop.

The website reports that the Harvard study is the first nation study linking autism to air pollution levels. The study found that women living in places with higher levels of pollution are twice as likely to give birth to a child with autism, compared to locations with lower levels.

According to DisabilityScoop, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health “looked at data from a long-term study of more than 116,000 nurses dating back to 1989 and focused on 325 women who had a child with autism and 22,000 who had a child without the developmental disorder.” The researchers used data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to estimate the women’s exposure to pollution.

“Ultimately, the researchers found that the children of moms living in the 20 percent of locations with the highest levels of diesel particulates or mercury in the air were twice as likely to have autism as those living in the 20 percent of places where exposure was the lowest,” DisabilityScoop reported. “Meanwhile, autism odds were about 50 percent greater for women living in areas with the highest levels of other pollutants including lead, manganese, methylene chloride and combined metal exposure as opposed to those residing in low exposure locations.”

“Our findings raise concerns since, depending on the pollutant, 20 percent to 60 percent of the women in our study lived in areas where risk of autism was elevated,” Andrea Roberts, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health said in a press release.

The results of this study are eye opening. We hope that continued advancements in autism research are made.

Depending on the level of severity for the person with autism, he or she may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you have questions about applying for disability benefits or are unsure if you qualify, contact a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050. Contact us today to learn more about your rights.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys


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