Air pollution over the Red River in Germany (Credit: Martin Fisch, via Flcikr/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have found an association between the presence of particulate matter in air and increased risk of autism, according to the Beaver County Times. Exposure to the very fine particles appears to increase the risk by one-and-a-half times what is normal.
The investigation compared two different groups of children to make the connection. One consisted of children who had autism, while the other didn’t. By plugging pollution data and other environmental factors relating to where the children grew up into models, scientists were able to chart the relationship.
Scientists note that the study is an early look at possible links between air pollution and autism. It by no means proves that one causes the other, but simply that there is an association between the two.
Featured Image: Air pollution over the Red River in Germany (Credit: Martin Fisch, via Flcikr/CC BY-SA 2.0)