Autism spectrum disorder and particulate matter pollution: A systematic review of literature

Payel Acharya, The University of Texas School of Public Health


BACKGROUND: Autism prevalence is on the rise. However, there is widespread uncertainty and ambiguity about its cause(s). Recent studies have identified air pollutants, including particulate matter, as potential risk factors of autism.^ OBJECTIVE: To systematically review published literature examining association between particulate matter and autism.^ DATA SOURCE: The data sources were studies that were pooled by searching scientific literature databases, including Medline (Ovid), PubMed (NLM), EMBASE (Ovid) and Google Scholar.^ STUDY SELECTION and METHOD: Observational studies that were published between 2003 and 2015 (July) that investigated association of particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5) exposure during pregnancy or early post-natal (12 months) development in human subjects were included. Information extracted from each study included author, year, country, study design and sample size, PM type and other pollutants studied, exposure category, autism diagnostic criteria, life stages assessed, and measures of association.^ RESULT: A total of 780 titles and abstracts were reviewed, and a final list of 10 studies was identified that met all the inclusion criteria. Six (6) studies explored association between PM10 and or PM2.5 , and three (3) studies examined association between diesel particulate matter and autism. PM2.5 was more commonly associated with autism than PM10.^ CONCLUSION: A trend was observed in PM type, life stage of exposure and the association with autism. However, due to lack of uniformity in exposure assessment, further analysis is warranted to affirm the findings of this systematic review.^

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Acharya, Payel, "Autism spectrum disorder and particulate matter pollution: A systematic review of literature" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1604126.