Autism spectrum disorders have increased significantly in the past 20 years. Claims that this increase is related to vaccines are unsubstantiated and have been debunked repeatedly. So the effort to determine why this might be goes on. As we search for scientific evidence of other potential connections, some research has pointed to conceivable ties.  The first study below notes that several previous studies suggest exposure to traffic-related air pollution, including particulate matter (PM), is associated with autism.  The research ultimately concludes that traffic-related air pollution indeed increases susceptibility to autism, particularly during the third trimester of pregnancy. You can read more below.

Particulate matter exposure, prenatal and postnatal windows of susceptibility, and autism spectrum disorders

Autism spectrum disorder and particulate matter air pollution before, during, and after pregnancy: a nested case-control analysis within the Nurses’ Health Study II Cohort

Traffic-related air pollution, particulate matter, and autism

A critical review of developmental exposure to particulate matter, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Early life exposure to air pollution particulate matter (PM) as risk factor for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Need for novel strategies for mechanisms and causalities

Particulate matter contributing to air pollution has been shown to impact other human conditions, notably depression and dementia. Different sized PM seem to have differing impacts. But even in the best-case scenarios, the evidence is reasonably compelling that air pollution in varying degrees will have a negative impact on our well-being. And it clearly does not have to be visible pollution. The particles that can not even be seen seem to contribute to both depression and dementia. Clean air, indoors and outdoors, should be our common goal. Check out the links below to read more about this.

Cross-sectional associations between long-term exposure to particulate matter and depression in China: The mediating effects of sunlight, physical activity, and neighborly reciprocity

Long-Term Particulate Matter Exposure and Onset of Depression in Middle-Aged Men and Women

Air Pollution and Dementia: A Systematic Review


Image by karelinlestrange from Pixabay

Effects of long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution on respiratory and cardiovascular mortality in the Netherlands: the NLCS-AIR study

Long-term exposure to air pollution and hospitalization for dementia in the Rome longitudinal study

C-reactive protein (CRP) and long-term air pollution with a focus on ultrafine particles

Association Between Ambient Air Pollution and Amyloid Positron Emission Tomography Positivity in Older Adults With Cognitive Impairment