Air Pollution and Newly Diagnostic Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Population-Based Cohort Study in Taiwan.
There is limited evidence that long-term exposure to ambient air pollution increases the risk of childhood autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The objective of the study was to investigate the associations between long-term exposure to air pollution and newly diagnostic ASD in Taiwan.
We conducted a population-based cohort of 49,073 children age less than 3 years in 2000 that were retrieved from Taiwan National Insurance Research Database and followed up from 2000 through 2010.
Inverse distance weighting method was used to form exposure parameter for ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particles with aerodynamic diameter less than 10 µm (PM10). Time-dependent Cox proportional hazards (PH) model was performed to evaluate the relationship between yearly average exposure air pollutants of preceding years and newly diagnostic ASD.
The risk of newly diagnostic ASD increased according to increasing O3, CO, NO2, and SO2 levels.
The effect estimate indicating an approximately
59% risk increase per 10 ppb increase in O3 level (95% CI 1.42-1.79),
37% risk increase per 10 ppb in CO (95% CI 1.31-1.44),
340% risk increase per 10 ppb increase in NO2 level (95% CI 3.31-5.85), and
17% risk increase per 1 ppb in SO2 level (95% CI 1.09-1.27)
was stable with different combinations of air pollutants in the multi-pollutant models.
Our results provide evident that children exposure to O3, CO, NO2, and SO2 in the preceding 1 year to 4 years may increase the risk of ASD diagnosis.