A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Spring, 2024 | Number 2, Volume 38

Research suggests link between air pollution, ASD

A study by researchers in China and Australia adds to evidence implicating air pollution as a factor in autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Tianyu Jin and colleagues used an approach called Mendelian randomization to study the relationship between air pollution and ASD. Mendelian randomization is a technique that helps to overcome some of the limitations of observational studies.

The researchers focused on two types of particulates: PM10, which has a diameter of 10 microns or less, and PM2.5, which has a diameter of 2.5 microns or less. They report that while no causal association was seen between PM10 and ASD, “Our results indicated that PM2.5 and PM2.5 absorbance might increase the risk of ASD.”

They conclude, “As urbanization and industrial activities continue to burgeon, it becomes imperative to address air pollution as a modifiable risk factor.”


“Particulate matter 2.5 causally increased genetic risk of autism spectrum disorder,” Tianyu Jin, Qiongyi Pang, Wei Huang, Dalin Xing, Zitian He, Zheng Cao, and Tong Zhang, BMC Psychiatry, February 2024 (free online). Address: Tong Zhang, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China, [email protected]