Autism and Air Pollution

02 · Apr · 2020
Photograph by: Uyanga Dashdorj

Today is World Autism Awareness Day!

The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition with a global prevalence of 6.2 to 7.6 per 1000 people. As of 2019, 763 people in Mongolia have been diagnosed with ASD. The core characteristics of ASD are difficulties with social interaction and communication, as well as restricted and repetitive behavior. 

Studies on ASD etiology have suggested that environmental exposure during gestation and early life may be comparably important. In one study done in California, children with autism were more likely to have been living at residences that had exposure to traffic-related air pollution during their gestation and the first year of their lives. Regional nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10) and 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in aerodynamic diameter were also associated with a two-fold increased risk of autism. 

Children who live in highly polluted cities like Ulaanbaatar are even more at risk of developing ASD. In recent years, the number of ASD cases have progressively increased in Mongolia and are projected to continue to increase in the future. 

To know and understand more about ASD and its impact, we invite you to:

  1. Follow the Autism Association of Mongolia to learn more about how we can understand, support and love each other more.
  2. Check out the Mongolian Autism Association’s new website
  3. Download Shuvuu app and share it with your loved ones.
  4. Wear masks when the air is polluted and get as much fresh air as possible with your family.
  5. Follow your local weather forecast channel for air quality information or use Breathe Mongolia’s interactive map to look for AQI near your district. 


Written by Khulan Gantumur

Translated to Mongolian by Khulan Gantumur, Tuul Ayurzana

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