Concentrations of Several Organic Pollutants Tied to Autism Cases

October 24, 2022

Children Exposed to Pollutants via Drinking Water, Food, and Dust

New research out of Pakistan has investigated exposure pathways to environmental organic pollutants (OP) and calculated how these exposures might affect children’s risk of developing autism. The current study involved 125 autism spectrum disorder (ASD) cases and 125 age and gender-matched controls. Children aged 4-16 participated in this research, with the average age being 9.2 years old. Participants were from three areas in Pakistan with diverse settings, including Islamabad (urban), Lahore (urban industrial), and Khanewal (rural). The study’s authors selected these different settings to identify the influence of residential land use and examine variable levels of pollutants exposure on ASD incidence. The researchers also sampled each area’s contaminants found in water, dust, and food (rice, wheat, and fish).  Blood serum samples were collected from participants to analyze their total OP body burden. The study’s results demonstrated a significant association between exposures to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and the development of ASD. The authors claim that for the first time, the exposure-hazard correlations were traced to the children’s environment, characterized by their indigenous polluted samples, including water, indoor dust, and food. Additionally, the researchers discovered that exposure to high molecular weight PCBs might be largely linked to ingesting contaminated food. They also found that OPs were more concentrated in water from semiarid areas. The authors concluded that their research identifies many OP exposure risks that should be avoided in the future to mitigate the risk of ASD, especially in light of urban expansion.  

Study Abstract

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons