New Study Correlating Mercury and Air Pollution with an Increased Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders

June 25, 2013

safeminds-mercury-air-pollutionThis new study published by the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrates further evidence of the association between environmental exposure to neurotoxic pollution and increased rates of autism. Not only did the study show mercury air pollution correlated with increased autism rates, it also demonstrated the pollution resulted in increased rates in boys. That this national study looks at children born to nurses, and conducted with input from Harvard University, helps improve confidence in the data used.

There are several important points to understand when considering this evidence:

1) In addition to diesel fuel, mercury was the most implicated toxin and it doubled the risk of ASD.

2) This is the fifth published, peer-reviewed study showing an association between mercury in air pollution and an increased risk for autism.

3) Mercury is a known endocrine disruptor and it damages mitochondria, both of which are implicated in autism

4) Prenatal mercury exposure likely primes infants for more post-natal environmental injury via immune problems, mitochondrial damage, and other medical issues.

5) If mercury in air pollution is associated with a doubling of ASD risk, then it is patently unscientific to rule out other sources of exposure, including mercury in food.

Federal agencies like the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPE) cannot ignore these findings. The public needs complete answers on why mercury pollution is so strongly related to higher autism rates and why boys born in these areas were more affected than girls.

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