Air Toxics in Relation to Autism Diagnosis, Phenotype, and Severity in a U.S. Family-Based Study.

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TitleAir Toxics in Relation to Autism Diagnosis, Phenotype, and Severity in a U.S. Family-Based Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKalkbrenner, AE, Windham, GC, Zheng, C, McConnell, R, Lee, NL, Schauer, JJ, Thayer, B, Pandey, J, Volk, HE
JournalEnviron Health Perspect
Date Published2018 03 12
KeywordsAir Pollutants, Aldehydes, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autistic Disorder, Benzidines, Chlorobenzenes, Dioxanes, Environmental Exposure, Female, Humans, Male, Methyl Ethers, Trihalomethanes, Urethane

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have reported associations of perinatal exposure to air toxics, including some metals and volatile organic compounds, with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).OBJECTIVES: Our goal was to further explore associations of perinatal air toxics with ASD and associated quantitative traits in high-risk multiplex families.METHODS: We included participants of a U.S. family-based study [the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE)] who were born between 1994 and 2007 and had address information. We assessed associations between average annual concentrations at birth for each of 155 air toxics from the U.S. EPA emissions-based National-scale Air Toxics Assessment and ) ASD diagnosis (1,540 cases and 477 controls); ) a continuous measure of autism-related traits, the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS, among 1,272 cases and controls); and ) a measure of autism severity, the Calibrated Severity Score (among 1,380 cases). In addition to the individual's air toxic level, mixed models (clustering on family) included the family mean air toxic level, birth year, and census covariates, with consideration of the false discovery rate.RESULTS: ASD diagnosis was positively associated with propionaldehyde, methyl -butyl ether (MTBE), bromoform, 1,4-dioxane, dibenzofurans, and glycol ethers and was inversely associated with 1,4-dichlorobenzene, 4,4'-methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), benzidine, and ethyl carbamate (urethane). These associations were robust to adjustment in two-pollutant models. Autism severity was associated positively with carbon disulfide and chlorobenzene, and negatively with 1,4-dichlorobenzene. There were no associations with the SRS.CONCLUSIONS: Some air toxics were associated with ASD risk and severity, including some traffic-related air pollutants and newly-reported associations, but other previously reported associations with metals and volatile organic compounds were not reproducible.

Alternate JournalEnviron. Health Perspect.
PubMed ID29553459
PubMed Central IDPMC6071802
Grant ListP30 ES007048 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
U24 MH081810 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States