Does the environment affect asthma, autism, or other health issues?
A. We have good information that there are environmental causes of some learning disabilities and other problems of the developing brain that stem from lead, methylmercury, PCBs, and pesticides. We're vigorously searching for an environmental cause for autism, and we don't know much about environmental causes of childhood cancer. We do know that cigarette smoke, air pollution, mold, and mildew can cause asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems in children.