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Living in an area with high levels of air pollution may increase a woman’s chances of having a child with autism, according to the first national study.

NEWEST STUDY: A recent study conducted in Western Pennsylvania. The study studied which certain air pollutants may place a child at an increased risk for developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This specific region was chosen for the study as a consequence of the high number of cases reported in the area along with certain environmental factors being especially present.

The researchers found links between increased levels of chromium and styrene and childhood autism spectrum disorder, a condition that affects one in 68 children. Children who fell into higher exposure groups of styrene and chromium were at a 1.4- to two-fold greater risk of ASD, after accounting for the age of the mother, maternal cigarette smoking, race and education.

Styrene is used in plastics and paints and is a product of combustion from burning gasoline in vehicles. Air pollution containing chromium is typically the result of the industrial process from industries such as steel manufacturing. Other air pollutants – including cyanide, methylene chloride, methanol and arsenic – were also linked to increased autism risk in children.

SECOND STUDY: Earlier studies have established a potential connection between air pollution and autism risk, but have concentrated on a few individual states. The latest study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives on Tuesday, draws on a large sample of women across the whole country.

HARVARD MAY-14 STUDY: Children in the Harvard research were from Utah and all other states in the nation, born between 1987 and 2002, and studied to correlate pollution levels in the area where the mother lived while pregnant. Data showed that the children who developed autism were statistically more likely to have been exposed to high levels of air pollution in the womb. Children in the womb are known to be susceptible to neurological or genetic damage when exposed to heavy metals and diesel exhaust pollutants.

USC 2013 STUDY: Exposure to air pollution appears to increase the risk for autism among people who carry a genetic disposition for the neurodevelopmental disorder. Air pollution exposure was determined based on the past residences of the children and their mothers, local traffic-related sources, and regional air quality measures.


Source: EHP, Harvard, USC, Univ of Pittsburg

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The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) claims that 223,000 lung cancer worldwide is from air pollution. And there os also convincing evidence that air pollution increases the risk of bladder cancer. IARC reviewed thousands of studies on air pollution tracking populations over decades and classified air pollution and "particulate matter" as Group 1 human carcinogens. That ranks them alongside more than 100 other known cancer-causing substances in IARC’s Group 1, including asbestos, plutonium, silica dust, ultraviolet radiation and tobacco smoke.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for six common air pollutants. These commonly found air pollutants (also known as "criteria pollutants") are found all over the United States. They are particulate matter, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and lead. Of the six pollutants, particle pollution and ground-level ozone are the most widespread health threats.


The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you about the unhealthiness of your air.

AQI of 100 or below is decent. Anything above is dangerous. AQI of 200+ is infrequent. It also changes per the seasons.

You can find about AQI value for your city at www.airnow.gov


· People with lung diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema, can be particularly sensitive to ozone.

· Children are at higher risk from ozone exposure because they often play outdoors in warmer weather when ozone levels are higher, they are more likely to have asthma (which may be aggravated by ozone exposure), and their lungs are still developing.

· Pregnant women.

· And Elderly adults


· Irritate the respiratory system

· Reduce lung function

· Cause lung tumors

· Aggravate Asthma

· Make lungs susceptible to lung infection



State Air Quality Resources
American Lung Association (ALA) of Texas
Inter-Tribal Environmental Council
Outdoor Burning in Texas
Quemar al Aire Libre en Texas
Texas Air Quality Index Program
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) – Air Quality
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Contacts
Compare county level air quality: http://www.epa.gov/aircompare/compare.htm
Today’s Ozone Forecasts

Source: EPA, Reuters and Others

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A healthy Pregnancy and Baby’s health are closely related. A new born’s health depends on:

· genes the child inherits from it parents

· environment in the womb

Most expectant women are warned that drinking alcohol, smoking and even eating unpasteurized cheeses can have serious consequences for the growth and development of their unborn children. But there are other ways in which a pregnant woman influences the later health of her child.

Shed pounds before pregnancy: Maternal obesity increases the risk of a woman developing gestational diabetes or going into preterm labor, as well as the risk of obesity and diabetes in the child. Recent studies have also linked a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight to her child’s risk of asthma. Regular exercise helps.

Limit Coffee Intake: Doctors and researchers have known that high caffeine intake during pregnancy may harm the fetus but the limit on caffeine is not known. However, a study published last month found that caffeine was associated with an increased risk for babies being smaller than normal at birth. Preferably avoid coffee.

Avoid secondhand smoke: Living in a smoky environment or secondhand smoke has long been tied to asthma and breathing problems in kids. Per study, kids born to mothers exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy were more than twice as likely to develop attention and aggression problems by the age of five than the children of mothers unexposed to smoke.

Discuss antidepressants with your doctor: Antidepressants have lasting impacts on the developing fetus, according to recent review of studies. A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) while pregnant may be linked to a higher risk of miscarriages, birth defects, preterm delivery and behavioral problems, including autism. Behavior therapy, which includes counseling but not medication, should be the first line of depression.

Get your VITAMIN ‘D’ AND FOLIC ACID. There’s growing evidence that low levels of the “sun vitamin” & folic acid during pregnancy may lead to health problems for mother and child. The review of more than 30 studies linked low levels of vitamin D to an increased risk of gestational diabetes, autism, pre-eclampsia and lower birth weight.

CUT out Deli meats: Roughly 1,600 Americans yearly suffer from severe cases of listeriosis, a food borne illness caused by a bacteria. A Listeria infection can lead to premature delivery, infection in the infant and even stillbirth. Processed meats, such as hot dogs, deli slices and smoked salmon can become contaminated with Listeria before they are packaged. Washing all fruits and vegetables and thoroughly cook all meats before consuming.

Avoid air pollution: Breathing outdoor air pollution caused by traffic, industry and even dust during pregnancy may slightly increase the risk that a baby will be born at a lower birth weight. Avoid rush hour traffic as well as idling cars. One study published found that increasing the intake of fruits and veggies during pregnancy may help protect against the effects of air pollution.