posted on 7:31 PM, July 6, 2016
Project leader: Meghan Winters
This proposed project will examine the impact of air quality in BC with the development of autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This project will conduct a population-based analysis of children diagnosed with ASD in the public health system in BC from 2004–2014, to calculate air pollutants NO2, SO2, PM2.5, and CO exposure estimates of mothers, and to test the associations between air pollutant exposure during fetal development with the development of autism. Project researchers will conduct a spatial analysis of autism diagnoses overlaid with air pollution data to identify spatial patterns, observe trends over time, and visualize the association between air pollution levels and autism cases. The mean residential exposure estimates will then be used to calculate the odds for the development of ASD associated with NO2, SO2, PM2.5, and CO exposure during prenatal development. Lastly, the project will produce interactive maps of the spatiotemporal distributions of air pollutants and autism diagnoses from 2000–2014 for Metro Vancouver.
If airborne pollutants are risk factors for the development of ASD, this study will provide further impetus for developing prevention strategies to improve air quality and reduce the adverse effects of air pollution on human health.