The mystery behind the cause of autism may very well be on its way to being unlocked. A new Harvard study has revealed that pregnant women who are exposed to smog from vehicles or those from smoke stacks have double the risk of giving birth to autistic babies.
Previous scientific studies were able to connect autism to air pollution and the Harvard research released last Thursday has bolstered these findings. The study has provided additional information concerning the susceptibility of women who are exposed to air containing pollutants from vehicles, factories, and fires in their last three months of pregnancy.
“We found an association that was specific to pregnancy and especially to the third trimester, identifying a window, which might shed a light on processes that are happening that can lead to autism,” said Marc Weisskopf, the report’s senior author and associate professor of environmental and occupational epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
He continued that the more exposure to the pollutants, the greater the danger. It’s very important therefore that the mother should protect herself at all times.
Weisskopf added that those minute poisonous substances effect on the woman’s last trimester of pregnancy may provide conclusive evidence since neurological activities spike in the last three months. It is “a time when brain development could be affected.”
The report can be found online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
The research team from Harvard concentrated their attention on pregnant women who are participants in Nurses’ Health Study II, an association of over 116,000 female U.S. nurses who consented to be monitored starting in 1989.
The research team collected information where the participants resided while pregnant and recorded the pollution readings in those places using the data of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The results were the basis of the Harvard research group’s findings.