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BC CLEAR Projects 2015-2016 (funding start dates) > Investigating Air Pollution as a Risk Factor for Autism: A Population-Based Analysis for BC

Investigating Air Pollution as a Risk Factor for Autism: A Population-Based Analysis for BC

posted on 7:31 PM, July 6, 2016

Project leader: Meghan Winters

This project examined the impact of air quality in BC with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This project was 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 conducted 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 was 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 produced interactive maps of the spatiotemporal distributions of air pollutants and autism diagnoses from 2000–2014 for Metro Vancouver.

See the project poster "Developing Spatiotemporal Air Pollution Models.

Read the final report (abstract).

See  a list of media stories (Excel) on this study.

About the Fraser Basin Council

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in British Columbia.

Where We Work

We are grateful to live and work on the unceded ancestral territories of the Indigenous Nations of British Columbia.

Our Vision

Social well-being supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.

Strategic Priorities

At the Fraser Basin Council, our strategic priorities are to take action on climate change, support healthy watersheds and water resources, and build sustainable and resilient communities.

With our partners, we work on a range of collaborative, multi-sector initiatives, such as those focused on flood management, community wildfire planning, air quality improvement, energy-efficient buildings, green transportation (including the uptake of electric vehicles and expansion of charging infrastructure), watershed planning and youth-driven climate action projects.

FBC Program Sites

Plug in BC:


ReTooling for Climate Change:

FBC Youth:

Climate Action Toolkit: 

Salmon-Safe BC

Realizing UNDRIP Initiative

Contact Us

FBC staff work from our Vancouver, Kamloops, Williams Lake and Prince George offices, and from several other locations.

To reach us, see FBC Offices and FBC Staff or contact our administration office:

Fraser Basin Council
1st Floor, 470 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1V5

T: 604 488-5350