Possible links between autism and power stationsabc.net.au | Apr 5th 2011 11:13 AM
Photo: A coal fired power station, Hunter Valley, NSW
The Federal Government is being urged to release statistics which could possibly identify a link between autism rates and coal fired power stations, including those in the New South Wales Hunter Valley.
Associate Professor, David Austin of Swinbourne University says he has filed several applications to find out which postcodes have higher autism rates.
The most recent request was rejected in February.
He says research published in the US last year shows increased rates of autism among residents living near coal fired power stations.
"The general rates published in the US, the UK and Australia are all very similar, they all vary around the one in 150 children having autism.
"But what they found was that the rates dropped lower than that as they went some distance away from power plants, and that's many hundreds of kilometres, to higher than that in areas within 10, 20 or 30-kilometres of those power plants."
Professor Austin says Australians, particularly those in the Hunter region, have a right to know if this is a real concern.
"There's a question here which deserves answering which is - is there a relationship between autism prevelance and how far people live from coal burining power stations.
"It's a valid question to ask and given that the answer is relatively easy to gather from existing data that is held for the Australian public, we should answer it."
First posted April 05, 2011 06:49:00
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