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November 27th, 2012:

Air pollution may be factor in autism, researchers report

Air pollution may be factor in autism, researchers report

By Susan Abram

| Los Angeles Daily News

First Published Nov 26 2012 06:11 pm • Updated 7 hours ago

Researchers have found that exposure to traffic-related air pollution during pregnancy is associated with autism, according to a new study released on Monday.

The study, published online in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found evidence that pollution may affect the developing brain among children whose mothers lived in areas where there was poor air quality.

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“Our work on autism is a piece of a great body of research on pollution as a health risk factor,” said Heather Volk, the lead researcher and assistant professor from the Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California.

“We’ve known for a long time that air pollution is bad for our lungs, and especially for children. We’re now beginning to understand how air pollution may affect the brain.”

Researchers examined 500 children, mostly boys, who lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. Half the children had autism. They studied mothers’ addresses from birth certificates and residential history then examined data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency from those areas, looking at levels of nitrogen dioxide, as well as fine (PM2.5) and course (PM10) particulate matter. They found that the finest particulate matter, even far from freeways, enters the lungs and blood, and eventually finds its way to the brain.

“Our study found that local estimates of traffic-related air pollution and regional measures of PM2.5, PM10, or nitrogen dioxide at residences were higher in children with autism,” researchers wrote.

The new study builds on previous work released in 2010 that found an association between the risk of autism and living within 1,000 feet of a freeway, though Volk would not specify which freeways were studied.

But Volk and other researchers cautioned that their work is not a definitive answer to why more children are being diagnosed with autism.

In 2006, 1 in 110 children in the United States was diagnosed with autism. Now the latest figures from the CDC indicate the rate has increased to 1 in 88.

Genetics, nutrition, and other environmental factors also must be considered. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 88 children are born with an autism-spectrum disorder.

Incinerator Study

Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 19:05

To: ‘‘; ‘

Cc: Andrew Tristem; ‘Frances Pollitt’; ‘Kelly, Frank’; Elliott, Paul

Subject: FW: Incinerator study

Dear Mr Middleton

Thank you for your enquiry on behalf of ‘Clear The Air’ in Hong Kong.   The English Health Protection Agency announced last week that they have approved funding for a Small Area Health Statistics Unit study to investigate whether there is any potential link between municipal waste incinerators and reproductive health – see

This is for a two year study starting in April 2012.  Results will be made publicly available once accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Best wishes   Anna Hansell

(Dr) Anna Hansell  MB BChir MA MRCP MSc PhD FFPH

Clinical Senior Lecturer Assistant Director, Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU)

MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health  Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

School of Public Health Faculty of Medicine Imperial College London St Mary’s Campus, Norfolk Place  LONDON W2 1PG

Phone: +44 (0)20 7594 3344 Fax: +44 (0)20 7594 0768 Email:

Small Area Health Statistics Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK

Home | Macau | CUHK to start 10-year plan on Ka Ho residents’ health

CUHK to start 10-year plan on Ka Ho residents’ health – Macau

18/06/2012 10:05:00

The government has commissioned the Chinese University of Hong Kong for a 10-year study of health conditions of the residents in Ka Ho, where local people complained of illness due to the air pollution from ashes from the nearby incinerator. The Health Bureau said they had agreed with the university on the detailed procedures of the study to monitor the health conditions of residents in the area near Hac Sa. The University was quoted as saying details of the monitoring mechanism and study methodologies would be disclosed to the public next month. Preliminary arrangements require an annual report to be published, but the final conclusion will be ten years away. The Health Bureau said the study will be conducted scientifically, impartially and independently in a professional manner. The health issues were discovered early last year when hundreds of residents, many of them students and teachers in the schools there, complained of lung and respiratory problems after the contractor working the incinerator was found to have broken safety regulations by disposing of the ashes into open areas, and a large amount of them carried to residential districts by wind

Cancer mortality in towns in the vicinity of incinerators and installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste (see study attached)

• Javier García-Péreza

• Pablo Fernández-Navarroa

• Adela Castellóa,

• María Felicitas López-Cimaa

• Rebeca Ramisa

• Elena Boldoa

• Gonzalo López-Abentea

Study Link

• a Cancer and Environmental Epidemiology Unit, National Center for Epidemiology, Carlos III Institute of Health, Avda. Monforte de Lemos, 5, 28029 Madrid, Spain

• b CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain

Received 23 July 2012

Accepted 18 October 2012

Available online 13 November 2012


Background     Waste treatment plants release toxic emissions into the environment which affect neighboring towns.

Objectives      To investigate whether there might be excess cancer mortality in towns situated in the vicinity of Spanish-based incinerators and installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste, according to the different categories of industrial activity.

Methods       An ecologic study was designed to examine municipal mortality due to 33 types of cancer, across the period 1997–2006. Population exposure to pollution was estimated on the basis of distance from town of residence to pollution source. Using Besag–York–Mollié (BYM) regression models with Integrated Nested Laplace approximations for Bayesian inference, and Mixed Poisson regression models, we assessed the risk of dying from cancer in a 5-kilometer zone around installations, analyzed the effect of category of industrial activity, and conducted individual analyses within a 50-kilometer radius of each installation.

Results      Excess cancer mortality (BYM model: relative risk, 95% credible interval) was detected in the total population residing in the vicinity of these installations as a whole (1.06, 1.04–1.09), and, principally, in the vicinity of incinerators (1.09, 1.01–1.18) and scrap metal/end-of-life vehicle handling facilities, in particular (1.04, 1.00–1.09). Special mention should be made of the results for tumors of the pleura (1.71, 1.34–2.14), stomach (1.18, 1.10–1.27), liver (1.18, 1.06–1.30), kidney (1.14, 1.04–1.23), ovary (1.14, 1.05–1.23), lung (1.10, 1.05–1.15), leukemia (1.10, 1.03–1.17), colon–rectum (1.08, 1.03–1.13) and bladder (1.08, 1.01–1.16) in the vicinity of all such installations.

Conclusions   Our results support the hypothesis of a statistically significant increase in the risk of dying from cancer in towns near incinerators and installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste.



Download PDF : 1-s2 0-S0160412012002279-mainIncindeaths

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