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Air Pollution, Autism Link Found

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A study demonstrates a link between autism and traffic-related air pollution during pregnancy, and it revealed that preborn children in high-pollution areas are at twice the risk of autism.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. It was conducted as a joint effort between the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC). Based on the compiled data, the increased risk was present when the mother was exposed to particulate matter (PM) PM2.5 and PM10. PM2.5 is fine particulate matter, and PM10 is pollution consisting of larger solid particles and liquid droplets. An interesting note is that the increased risk did not require residence on a busy road and only required exposure to PM2.5 and PM10 on a regional scale.

According to the lead author, Heather Volk, an assistant professor at USC, the study emphasized areas that are a growing concern for scientists researching the effects of air quality on the human body. Air pollution is obviously bad for the lungs, but new science is revealing that it may be affecting our brains and even affecting our bodies on a genetic level. In other words, poor air quality could be the cause of a wide range of ailments where modern medicine has not yet considered pollution as a possible cause.

The study encompassed 500 children from different families living in Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco. The researchers quantified pollution exposure at each pregnancy trimester and at each quarter of the first year of life. The study that preceded this one showed a higher rate of autism for those living near freeways, but this study revealed that the danger is much more widespread than that. The study identified the primary risk factors which are nitrogen and particulate matter. The study also stressed that the data does not prove that air pollution causes autism, but it does prove that it is a significant risk factor. In other words, eliminating air pollution would not eliminate autism but it could significantly reduce the rate at which it occurs.

The same team plans a third study that will shift the focus to genetic factors that could make some children more susceptible to the environmental factors.  Many reputable medical professionals, including pulmonary specialists and respiratory therapists, stress the value of HEPA filtration. Most people spend the majority of their time in the home, and indoor air quality is usually worse due to the increased concentration levels.

A HEPA air purifier removes 99.97% of all airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in size, and virtually all known pollution particles are 0.3 microns in size or larger. Therefore, HEPA can eliminate the risk of air pollution indoors, and it can also help prevent the onset of asthma or allergies or at least reduce, or even eliminate, the symptoms. Substances linked to a wide range of ailments, including asthma and allergies, can be eliminated by using a HEPA air purifier. This is particularly important for children since they have higher metabolic rates and are at greater risk. Start protecting your children today by investing in a HEPA air purifier from Clean Air Plus.

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