June 18 News: Autism Is Twice As Likely In Children Living Near High Air Pollution Areas

The largest study to date that examines the link between air pollution and autism found that women living in high-pollution areas were twice as likely to have a child with the disorder. [Bloomberg]

Researchers seeking the roots of autism have linked the disorder to chemicals in air pollution and, in a separate study, found that language difficulties of the disorder may be due to a disconnect in brain wiring.

Researchers from Harvard University’s School of Public Health found that pregnant women exposed to high levels of diesel particulates or mercury were twice as likely to have an autistic child compared with peers in low-pollution areas. The findings, published today in Environmental Health Perspectives, are from the largest U.S. study to examine the ties between air pollution and autism. …

The link to air pollution was initially made in 2006 by a group led by Gayle Windham at the California Department of Health Services. Another study, published in November 2012, also found links between air pollution and autism.

“People were skeptical” of the initial report from Windham’s group, said Marc Weisskopf, an author of today’s study and an associate professor of environmental health and epidemiology at Harvard University’s School of Public Health in Boston. “I went to do this in a larger setting, not at all convinced we would see anything.”

In the public comment period regarding the proposed gold and copper Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay watershed, the comments supporting the mine come from the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute. No really: 117,401 out of 118,294 mass e-mail comments came from CEI. [Washington Post]

After beginning the year with record levels of air pollution, Beijing over the weekend detailed targets for pollution reduction, primarily from heavy-polluting industries. [Guardian]

The builders of the Keystone pipeline say they are not planning on using high-tech methods of detecting spills along its route. [Bloomberg]

It is still unclear how or why people exposed to oil spills get sick — and there are no clear federal chemical exposure guidelines for spills. [Inside Climate News]

Canada’s tar sands companies have failed to clean up toxic waste ponds created through tar sands mining, a new report finds. [Guardian]

Experts in Britain’s Met Office are meeting to discuss the country’s extreme weather patterns, including the coldest spring of 50 years this year and the wettest summer in 100 years last year. [The Independent]

45 mayors have signed a pledge promising to prepare their cities for the “disasters and disruptions fueled by climate change.” [Grist]

After Governor Jerry Brown persuaded the California State Legislature to borrow $500 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to balance the budget this year, environmental groups are looking for ways to replace funding for programs that would have been funded by that money. [San Francisco Public Press]

Pope Francis, who takes his name from the patron saint of animals and the environment, has a chance to inspire other religious leaders to become environmental stewards. [Reuters]

Secretary Moniz said yesterday that the Energy Department would “aggressively” pursue solar energy because the potential is “underestimated” and competitive in many areas. [The Hill]

The GOP House appropriations bill would cut renewable energy by nearly $1 billion for FY 2014. [House Appropriations Committee, The Hill]

Automakers have recently dropped prices on electric vehicles, boosting demand, and inventories are selling out. [Time]

More on Fisker Automotive’s history and current status following years of financial difficulties. [Reuters]

Electrofuels: making biofuels using microorganisms instead of plants. The latest effort from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-e research unit. [National Geographic News]

A new study finds that 41 percent of bird species, 29 percent of amphibians and 22 percent of corals are “highly climate change vulnerable.” [Care2]

Research into fungus-farming leafcutter ants has revealed enzymes that could allow for biofuel production from the parts of corn stalks other than the cobb. [Mother Jones]

More than half of the coverage of climate change on CNBC cast doubt on climate science. [Media Matters]

Not to worry, though: Bill Nye the Science Guy is on a one-man crusade against climate change deniers. [New York Times]

17 Responses to June 18 News: Autism Is Twice As Likely In Children Living Near High Air Pollution Areas

  1. Raul M. says:

    Anyone know of a silicon sleve that wraps around my cooking pot. I am looking for a silicone pad that rests on the lid that has a cut out for the lid handle.
    I think it would help to keep the kitchen cool as the heat would stay in the pot more. If it would wrap around it could fit a variety of pots. Just thinking.

  2. Joan Savage says:

    A 2008 Texas study on autism prevalence found a correlation between coal-fired power plants and an increased rate of autism in school-aged children living downwind.

    Palmer, R.F., et al., Proximity to point sources of environmental mercury release as a predictor of autism prevalence. Health & Place (2008), doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.02.001.

  3. Superman1 says:

    “The value of ecologic studies: mercury concentration in ambient air and the risk of autism.” “The relative risk of autism is greater in the geographic areas of higher levels of ambient mercury. We find that the higher levels of ambient mercury are geographically associated with point sources of mercury emission, such as coal-fired power plants and cement plants with coal-fired kilns.”

  4. Superman1 says:

    “Environmental mercury contamination in China: sources and impacts.” “Mercury emission from non-ferrous metals smelting (especially zinc smelting), coal combustion and miscellaneous activities (of which battery and fluorescent lamp production and cement production are the largest), contributed about 45%, 38% and 17%, respectively….There is also increasing evidence showing that skin disorders and autism in Hong Kong children are related to their high Hg body loadings, through prenatal methyl Hg exposure.”

  5. Superman1 says:

    “Occupational exposure to diesel engine emissions and risk of lung cancer: evidence from two case-control studies in Montreal, Canada.” “Our findings provide further evidence supporting a causal link between diesel engine emissions and risk of lung cancer. The risk is stronger for the development of squamous cell carcinomas than for small cell tumours or adenocarcinomas.”

  6. Raul M. says:

    Penicillinamine (? It been a while since I’ve looked it up), a variety of penicillin is effective at removing heavy metals. The penicillin variety swallows the heavy metal and then is flushed out of the body.

  7. Raul M. says:

    Maybe I’ll just cut up some silicone trivets to make a new wrap and cap for the pot and lid. Seems that I should be able to find some at the store.

  8. prokaryotes says:

    Secrets of Abrupt Climate Shifts revisited

    Posted this last night, now updated with some more science.

  9. Colorado Bob says:

    Baked Alaska: All-Time Record Heat Grips State

    Talkeetna, 75 miles north of Anchorage, reached 96 degrees. Just a day earlier, it had tied its all-time record high of 91, also set June 14, 1969 and June 26, 1953. The 96-degree high was hotter than any town in the entire state of Florida on Monday.

    * McGrath hit 94 degrees, crushing its all-time record of 90 set June 15, 1969 and just tied on Sunday. McGrath is deep in the interior of southwest Alaska, 215 miles northwest of Anchorage.

    * Cordova hit 90 degrees, breaking its record of 89 set July 16, 1995. Cordova is on the coast 145 miles east of Anchorage.

    * Valdez touched 90 degrees as well, erasing its record of 87 set June 25-26, 1953. Valdez is on an arm of Prince William Sound, 120 miles east of Anchorage.

    * Seward hit 88 degrees, eclipsing its all-time high of 87 set July 4, 1999. Seward is on the coast of the Kenai Peninsula, 80 miles south of Anchorage.

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Citizen Koch,” a documentary on how Citizens United has warped American politics, was promised funding by public television, but executives withdrew support for the film because they feared it would offend billionaire industrialist David Koch, a PBS donor.

    The film focuses on the 2010 election of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and how the Kochs came to his aid when he faced being kicked out of office. Now its place in the “Independent Lens” series has been shelved by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), an arm of PBS that funds and distributes independent films— because another IL film, “Park Avenue,” upset David Koch.

    I want to watch this movie!

  11. rollin says:

    Silent Spring was not just written to save the birds. If people like having lots of cancer, nerve diseases and genetic anomalies then continue with business as usual.

  12. prokaryotes says:

    Tesla’s Musk gears up for ‘tough’ battle over direct sales

    (Reuters) – Tesla Motor Inc (TSLA.O) is marshalling lawyers across the country to battle local interests such as auto dealers intent on outlawing its direct-to-consumer sales model, co-founder and CEO Elon Musk told Reuters on Tuesday.

    So much for the so called free market …

  13. prokaryotes says:

    Riot police detain a demonstrator during a protest against the government’s plans to raise fuel price in Makassar, in the South Sulawesi province June 17, 2013. Indonesia’s parliament could pass measures on Monday paving the way for a 33 percent rise in the country’s fuel prices to reduce a government subsidy bill that has cast a shadow over Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

  14. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Don’t you just love ‘Freedom of Speech’. Let’s slag off the Chinese and Russians, again!