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Harvard scientists link diesel air pollution to higher autism rates

Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health recently reported that pregnant women exposed to high levels of air pollution are twice as likely to have a child with autism compared to women exposed to low levels.

Results of the U.S.-wide study were published in the June 18, 2013 edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.

“The authors found that the pregnant mothers living in the 20% of areas with the most air pollution had twice the risk of having a child with autism, compared to those living in the 20% of locations with the lowest levels,” reports Medical News Today. “The researchers focused on levels of diesel particulates and/or mercury in the air.”

The Harvard study comes one year after the World Health Organization classified diesel exhaust as a known human carcinogen, in the same category as asbestos and mustard gas.

The Clean Train Coalition continues to push for cleaner, healthier, cheaper, faster, lighter electric trains rather than diesels on Toronto’s regional rail networks run by Metrolinx, an agency of the Ontario government. The Ontario government, meanwhile, continues to expand diesel service, including the new Union-Pearson Express now under construction.

Support healthy communities, a cleaner environment and better public transit by donating to the Clean Train Coalition. It’s fast, easy and secure with PayPal. Use the “Donate” button on the right.

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