Debby Bruck profile image

Car Exhaust Fumes & Air Pollution Are Contributing Factors To Increase In Autism

Autism Air Pollution Linked

WebMD | Archives of General Psychiatry publication of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the University of California Davis MIND Institute Study | Nov. 26, 2012 -- Being exposed to high levels of air pollution from traffic may raise the risk of autism, researchers say. "Children exposed to higher levels of traffic-related pollutants during pregnancy or during the first year of life were at increased risk of autism compared to children exposed to the lowest level," says Heather E. Volk, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of research at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Autism affects about 1 in 88 children in the U.S.

The study gathered data on children based on their addresses and proximity to areas with busy traffic patterns, air pollution, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide emission.

A direct cause and effect cannot be affirmed due to many other risks including prenatal smoking, the mother's age, race, and ethnicity. However, recommendations to limit outdoor time on poor air quality days may lower risk.

Air Pollution Effects Growth and Development

LATEST NEWS: Autism from Automobile Exhaust Fumes

We may be seeing a correlation between environmental pollutants and increased incidence of autism. Some new data indicates a doubling of risk for those living near highway traffic. We know that polluted airways contribute to asthma. We also can tally up the chemicals spewed into the atmosphere, which have devastating effects upon the growth of organisms.

As a teen forty years ago, I remember doing growth studies of plants along highways and the resultant dwarf specimens. We did spectrometer measurements to visualize the chemical components and if there were heavy metals. Those were the days of the fall-out and bomb shelters when we were afraid nations would blow each other off the face of the earth.

Instead, we are slowly killing future generations because we haven't figured out how to invest in mass transit and clean energy sources. Forty years ago we had the information. And, still we did not develop solar and electric cars. We bear the consequences in our children.

Children in families who live near freeways are twice as likely to have autism as kids who live off the beaten path. Researchers in Los Angeles looked at 304 children with autism and 259 normally developing children and found that those whose moms were living within 1,000 feet of a freeway when they gave birth had a increased risk for autism.

  • healthland.time.com/2010/12/17/study-living-near-a-highway-may-contribute-to-autism-risk/

This short list car exhaust chemicals could certainly effect growing fetuses and mental function in young children:

  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Sulphur dioxide
  • Suspended particles, PM-10 particles less than 10 microns in size.
  • Benzene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Polycyclic hydrocarbons

Autism Video Shown Below: Growing autism rates and the future of autism research; How air pollution can make us sick and what we can do to clean up our air Series: "UC Davis Frontiers" [6/2007] [Public Affairs] [Health and Medicine] [Science] [Show ID: 12865]

Autism is a biological, emotional, genetic and chemical disease. The brains of autistic children grow faster. The total brain and parts of the brain mature too fast and probably absorbs many chemicals in the environment.

Congested Highways & Automobile Exhaust Fumes

As roads become heavily populated, exhaust fumes increase pollutants into the atmosphere
As roads become heavily populated, exhaust fumes increase pollutants into the atmosphere

Carbon Monoxide

What you cannot see can harm you. We have more to worry about the invisible fumes than the large particles. Remember the fetus is effected by what crosses into the placenta from the blood of the mother.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and toxic gas produced as a by-product of combustion. Carbon monoxide inhibits the blood's ability to carry oxygen to body tissues including vital organs such as the heart and brain. When CO is inhaled, it combines with the oxygen carrying hemoglobin of the blood to form carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). Once combined with the hemoglobin, that hemoglobin is no longer available for transporting oxygen. We all know that people commit suicide by leaving the car running in their garage and breathing this gas.

Air Pollution

Nitrous Dioxide

Check out the OSHA regulations on nitrous dioxide an unstable explosive gas. Summary of toxicology

Effects on Humans: Nitrous oxide is an asphyxiant at high concentrations. At lower concentrations, exposure causes central nervous system, cardiovascular, hepatic, hematopoietic, and reproductive effects in humans [Hathaway et al. 1991]. At a concentration of 50 to 67 percent (500,000 to 670,000 ppm) nitrous oxide is used to induce anesthesia in humans [Rom 1992].

Patients exposed to a 50:50 mixture of nitrous oxide:oxygen for prolonged periods to induce continuous sedation developed bone marrow depression and granulocytopenia [Hathaway et al. 1991; ACGIH 1991]. Although most patients recover, several deaths from aplastic anemia have been reported [Hathaway et al. 1991].

Neurotoxic effects occur after acute exposure to concentrations of 80,000 to 200,000 ppm and above; effects include slowed reaction times and performance decrements [Hathaway et al. 1991]. Long-term occupational exposure (dentists, dental assistants) has been associated with numbness, difficulty in concentrating, paresthesias, and impairment of equilibrium [Hathaway et al. 1991; ACGIH 1991]. In one study, exposure to 50 ppm nitrous oxide was associated with a decrement in audiovisual performance, but this result has not been duplicated in other studies [ACGIH 1991]. Epidemiological studies, primarily of operating room personnel, have shown increased risks of spontaneous abortion, premature delivery, and involuntary infertility among these occupationally exposed populations [ACGIH 1991; Hathaway et al. 1991].

Relationship Between Autism and Air Pollution

Sulphur Dioxide

Sulphur dioxide is prevalent in air pollution. High concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2) can result in breathing problems with asthmatic children and adults who are active outdoors. Short-term exposure has been linked to wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Other effects associated with longer-term exposure to sulfur dioxide, in conjunction with high levels of particulate soot, include respiratory illness, alterations in the lungs' defenses and aggravation of existing cardiovascular disease.

If a person is not receiving enough oxygen in the blood from the lungs this means the brain is not receiving enough oxygen to function properly.

Benzene

We are paying the price for the convenience of our vehicles. One of the most hazardous components from auto exhaust fumes may exhibit these short term effects simply from breathing benzene:

  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Rapid pulse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Anemia
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Death

If a person is exposed day after day to benzene more serious effects results:

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood
  • Secondary Aplastic Anemia
  • Damage to the reproductive system
  • Types of leukemia 
  • Severe anemia

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is know to cause birth defects. We remember dissecting a frog in biology class that smelled strongly from this preservative. It is used in particleboard products and as an intermediate in the synthesis of other chemicals.

Exposure to formaldehyde may occur by breathing contaminated indoor air, tobacco smoke, or ambient urban air. Acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure to formaldehyde in humans can result in respiratory symptoms, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Limited human studies have reported an association between formaldehyde exposure and lung and nasopharyngeal cancer. Animal inhalation studies have reported an increased incidence of nasal squamous cell cancer. EPA considers formaldehyde a probable human carcinogen. EPA


Polycyclic hydrocarbons

Polycyclic hydrocarbons are prevalent in our society. I even learned they can be found in our shampoo. It is not just one chemical. PAHs are a group of approximately 10,000 compounds.

When our cars are not tuned up or most efficient in combustion the PAHs are emitted into the atmosphere. Many useful products such as mothballs, blacktop, and creosote wood preservatives contain PAHs. They are also found at low concentrations in some special-purpose skin creams and anti-dandruff shampoos that contain coal tars.

Automobile exhaust, industrial emissions and smoke from burning wood, charcoal and tobacco contain high levels of PAHs. In general, more PAHs form when materials burn at low temperatures, such as in wood fires or cigarettes. High-temperature furnaces produce fewer PAHs. Fires can form fine PAH particles. They bind to ash particles and can move long distances through the air. Some PAHs can dissolve in water. PAHs can enter groundwater from ash, tar, or creosote that is improperly disposed in landfills.

Breathing: Most people are exposed to PAHs when they breathe smoke, auto emissions or industrial exhausts. Most exhausts contain many different PAH compounds. People with the highest exposures are smokers, people who live or work with smokers, roofers, road builders and people who live near major highways or industrial sources.

Considering the fragile nature of a fetus and the rapidity in which it grows, the intact of these compounds can effect respiratory and nervous systems. For those living and working near exhaust fumes from autos the following effects may result: 

Cancer: Benzo(a)pyrene, a common PAH, is shown to cause lung and skin cancer in laboratory animals. Other PAHs are not known to have this effect. Extracts of various types of smoke containing PAHs caused lung tumors in laboratory animals. Cigarette smoke will cause lung cancer.

Reproductive Effects: Reproductive problems and problems in unborn babies’ development have occurred in laboratory animals that were exposed to benzo(a)pyrene. Other PAHs have not been studied enough to determine whether they cause reproductive problems.

Organ Systems: A person’s lungs, liver, skin, and kidneys can be damaged by exposure.


The Short List

The chemicals listed above were just a few of the potentially hazardous fumes from automobiles being dispersed into our atmosphere daily. We don't think about it because we really can't see these gases as they dissipate into the sky. However, not only aren't we getting much needed exercise, those walking, strolling or running adjacent to the highway are effected in immeasurable ways. 


The Fetal Circulatory System

Research Shows The Fetus Takes In Much More

Throughout the fetal stage of development, the maternal blood supplies the fetus with O2 and nutrients and carries away its wastes. The concentration of hemoglobin in fetal blood is about 50 % greater than in maternal blood. Fetal hemoglobin is slightly different chemically and has a greater affinity for O2 than maternal hemoglobin. At a particular oxygen partial pressure, fetal hemoglobin can carry 20-30% more O2 than maternal hemoglobin.

“During most of pregnancy, the placenta separating mother and fetus is only one cell thick,” Koren tells me. “But it has an array of mechanisms to help it do its job of protecting the fetus.” These subcellular tools, he explains, include tiny pumps that expel toxins before they can do any damage, immune agents that guard the placenta’s perimeter, and placental enzymes that chemically break down intruding molecules. This armamentarium does an impressive job of blocking bacteria from reaching the fetus, but it lets other substances sail right through.

“The criteria that determine whether a molecule crosses the placenta include its size, its electrical charge, and its solubility,” says Koren. “Not, notice, whether it is harmful or not.” Particles that are small, that are neutrally charged, and that easily dissolve in fat will be waved past the placenta’s layers of security, regardless of their potential toxicity. [Source]

Now that this link has been made between automobile exhaust fumes and brain development leading to autism, we must be even more vigilant. We can now look to the interior of our homes for chemical vapors from all kinds of manufactured products. 

We used to have a saying, "Better Living Through Chemistry." As a naturalist, I remain in opposition to this premise. 

Becoming A World Citizen

Connect The Dots

As the data begins to accumulate, what action do you think government should take?

  • Collect more data
  • Build more roads
  • Limit housing near highways
  • Make stricter auto emissions
  • R&D cleaner and more efficient fuel
  • Provide mass transportation
  • Design better community development
  • Provide assistance to parents with autistic children
  • Educate the public about the dangers of auto emissions
  • Research ways to rid the body of toxins
  • Hold the automotive industry accountable
See results without voting

 Last updated on June 27, 2014

Useful {11}Funny Awesome {2}Beautiful Interesting {4}

Comments 19 comments

fucsia profile image

fucsia 3 years ago

This news is shocking. Air pollution is associated with many diseases and disorders, but I had never heard of autism.

Thanks for sharing and for having exposed this important problem very well

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 3 years ago Hub Author

Dear Fucsia ~ I appreciate your comment. These days it is hard to be shocked about much news coming to light. With Wikileaks fueling the fire, and the word "transparent" actually meaning we are vulnerable to exposure, in so many ways, the people must face the truth and act.

The many issues that concern the health of all people and our environment are at stake.

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 3 years ago Hub Author

Dear Dali48 [Is your name Wolfgang?] ~ Going green is a massive project encompassing all fields of humanities interactions with the world. Instituting CLEAN ENERGY and the free power of the sun with the technology available will slowly clean up our environment. Thank you for your thoughts.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 3 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

For sure - how can we not be affected by all the useless filth in this environment. Think it's not dirty? I live in NYC where snow is clean and crisp and white on day one. The next day it looks like charcoal. How can this be good?

We have to stop buying all the garbage that pollutes. There was this news report about this couple who recycled all their soda bottles and demanded everyone else do so. Huh? No one on earth needs soda - which comes in these bottles which fill the landfills. Need I point out that this same couple drives to the store to buy these bottles of soda. We've become so simple-minded as a culture - and blameless.

Thanks for the food for thought!

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 3 years ago Hub Author

I see I am already following you on twitter! It totally frustrates me that we did not switch over to solar in the 70"s with the long gas lines. Not for want of the technology. We could have been independent of our need for petroleum, with a result of more energy efficiency, cleaner environment, less greed, more harmony and balance on earth. What happened to the generation of the young idealists?

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 3 years ago Hub Author

I agree 100% and reading many of your super posts. Keep in touch.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 3 years ago from London, UK

There could done a lot more for environment but I guess somewhere there isn't enough money in it an that speaks.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 3 years ago from Australia Level 1 Commenter

Your Hub paints an alarming picture for our children's children and their children. Lets pray that you are wrong, but I fear that you are spot on the money.

You ask what happened to yesterday's idealists, most of them that I have followed have mutated into 'capitalists'.

If we could remove greed from our human nature, would the world be a better place?

Thank you for writing such a thought provoking hub :-)

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 3 years ago Hub Author

Hello agvulpes ~ Thank you for visiting and commenting. As you speak, I'm wondering if the youngest and most effected generation will have the resources to deal with the remains of how we have left our world. Will they have the resolve, inner strength, voice, funding, and unity to turn things around? We can only pray for a better future.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 3 years ago from Australia Level 1 Commenter

Debby I honestly feel confident that we will hand the planet over to a more educated and enlightened generation than our grandparents did when they passed on.

The resources that we have at our disposal today means that the world is becoming more transparent.

Keep on Hubbing :-)

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 3 years ago Hub Author

I hope you are right!

Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 2 years ago from The North Woods, USA

Rated up, useful, awesome, and interesting. This is one of the most in-depth hubs I've come across, and that's saying a lot! To say there's a wealth of information here is an understatement!

That said though, the topic itself is not new to me, but it's one I haven't delved into very much until now. It's not surprising that air pollution contributes to disease and problems during fetal development. I'd add some things to the list, although I know this hub is narrowed-in to one cause. I'd add agricultural pollution like insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and water pollution like fluoride into the equation as well. Great work! :)

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 2 years ago Hub Author

Dear Faceless ~ Many thanks for compliments on the in-depth work that takes research and also my own opinion, like an editorial on my passion - healthy living. I'm concerned about how our environment becomes spoiled for inhabitance by living organisms due to the greed of large companies that dump trash and waste into the air, water and earth. Mother earth depends upon the little people to make a big shout, "STOP THIS POLLUTION!" I have written many articles about all topics you have listed either on Hubpages or on HomeopathyWorldCommunity website. Blessings, Debby

LetitiaFT profile image

LetitiaFT 23 months ago from Paris via California

Interesting. Could noise also contribute to the correlation?

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 23 months ago Hub Author

Hello Letitia ~ Innovative thinking to bring the sensitivity to sound into the picture. We have so many types of pollution to contend with in every day life. Very possibly some kind of sensitivity during development may add to the increase in autism.

Thanks for visiting. Blessings, Debby

icmn91 profile image

icmn91 19 months ago from Australia

Have you heard of defective MTHFR genetic mutations. I was diagnosed with severe autism when young and it was only through an intensive home program, vitamins and the gluten free diet that I am able to function pretty well normally today.

Unfortunately, some of my autism like behaviours came back at the end of last year before I discovered that it may have been due to the kitchen staff lying about the GF status of my food at the university I went to (more on my hubs).

Thanks for a great post!

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 19 months ago Hub Author

Hello ICMN ~ It sounds like you got the wrong end of the stick on college caring for their students. When time allows, I will read more of the story, of which I see you've posted three hubs. In the meantime, sounds like you are doing most everything possible. You may be interested in reading my other Hub on Autism and Homeopathy.

Continue your vigilance and I'm sure it will pay off for you. Another stress trigger to all illness centers around our emotions. If there's any way to do some mantras that will enable you to forgive any harm done by anyone in your life, while sending waves of love to yourself, you may see less flare ups. Keeping a diary or journal also helps track progress and is part of the healing journey. Blessings, Debby

aussieinchina 17 months ago

The #1 cause of death in a fire is smoke inhalation - we have the product

that is affordable and will minimize death by the inhalation of smoke and

other deadly carcinogens such as CO, HCN, HCL, Acrolein, heavy smoke,

poisonous mist, powder dust, poisonous steam and gaseous toxins.

SMOKE DETECTORS * DO NOT WORK WITHOUT * SMOKE

Smoke detectors Only Warn You - Think about it - Your Smoke Detector does not work - unless you have SMOKE - By then it could be TOO LATE!

This device will SAVE your Life and those of Your Loved Ones.

When fighting a fire with FIRE EXTINGUISHERS this device will allow you to

do so without becoming overwhelmed by the * SMOKE

What better way to fight a fire than to have a Safety Mask in order to

protect oneself from the Fatal effects of toxic smoke. Our product protects

You and your Loved Ones 100% from SMOKE - FLAME & BURNING ASH.

PROTECTION Guaranteed 30 Minutes of Breathable Air / Up to 1400 Degrees F Protection /

Meets European EN403 standard. A 60 minute model is also available upon request.

Recently ( April 2005 ) we had this product tested by a Lab in California – the test results are quite clear – PASS – using the EN403 Testing criteria.

Our Hood / Mask is produced with Flammable-Resisting Aluminum Foil cloth,

which will withstand temperatures of 800C ( that is over 1400F ), which

protects the head from flame, thermal radiation and dropping dust from fire.

With the chemicals used in the carpet * drapes * furniture - even the

treated wood in the building of our homes ( which is treated with cyanide

to prevent termites ) give off toxic fumes when fire is present and smoke

is created. Everything from Carbon Monoxide *Cyanide Gas * Chlorine Gas *

Acrolein * and many other toxic gases and smoke. Our product provides 100%

protection for all of these gases and smoke and more.

These devices are already used in many Hotels * Restaurants * Office Buildings * Hospitals * Schools * Government Facilities * Nursing Homes * and Homes.

Statistics show that the majority of fires occur between 11pm and 7am in the

morning.

The first thing you do after waking up due to a Smoke Alarm going off * is

to Take a Deep Breath * Breath of What * SMOKE!

It is not necessarily the first breath * but the second and third that can

be Life-Threatening

Even physicians and Fire Departments will tell you that you have less than

60 seconds in order to evacuate a smoke filled room or suffer possible death

due to SI ( Smoke Inhalation )

Our goal is to bring to everyone’s attention, an affordable Life Savings

Device * that ultimately Save Lives. Our Safe Escape * Smoke and Fire

Safety Evacuation Mask / Hood

WARRANTY We even provide a five ( 5 ) warranty ) with FREE replacement at any time during the five years when used in conjunction with a situation where Fire or Smoke have occurred.

Our ASE30 / ASE30A gives up to 30 minutes of Filtered Breathable Air in order to escape a Burning Building or Situation up to the 20th Floor.

Our ASE60 / ASE60A provide up to 60 Minutes of Filtered Breathable Air and is recommended for use in Buildings above the 20th Floor – giving enough time for Escape or Rescue.

Feel Free to contact me further safetyhood at gmail dot com

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 16 months ago Hub Author

Glad this was helpful.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages account.

    8192 characters left.
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your Hubs or other sites.


    Disclaimer: This Information is for Educational Purposed Only

    • The information on this blogsite is posted for educational purposes only, and not intended to constitute medical or legal advice. As with any important medical or legal matter, you are advised to consult an experienced health care provider and/or knowledgeable attorney concerning your specific health & vaccine exemption or waiver concerns.
    • No attorney-client relationship or doctor-patient relationship is intended, implied or created by the posting or viewing of information on this site; nor is a doctor-patient or an attorney-client relationship created by the submission or exchange of questions or information via email or otherwise with Debby Bruck
    • Readers are responsible for their use of information provided on this blog or linked to from this site. Debby Bruck assumes no liability for the same.
    • Debby Bruck has made reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of information on this blog site, but absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.
    • Always check with your health care provider

    About the Author

    Debby Bruck, CHOM is a Homeopath, the founder and administrator of Homeopathy World Community a platform for homeopaths to share and learn from each other.  Debby believes that homeopathy is the wave of the future and provides hope and healing to those who have tried every other approach. Follow Debby on Twitter. All Hubpage blogs written by Debby Bruck are for informational purposes only. Please contact your healthcare professional. 

    Click to Rate This Article
    Please wait working