Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


The paper explores how historical mercury deposition associates with the incidents of autism, identified in individuals aged from 3 to 21 in California from 2001 to 2007. The association between mercury deposits and the prevalence of individuals with autism aged from 3 to 21 in California was explored using the data from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program and the U.S. Education Department. A correlation analysis is applied to find if a relationship between mercury deposits and the autistic individuals in California. A regression test is run showing that for every 2.41ng/square meter per year increase of mercury deposits in California, there is a corresponding 3.55 person increase of autistic individuals aged from 3 to 21 historically from 2001 to 2007. Due to constraint factors in the research (please see the conclusion section), the comparison study did not show a statistically significant difference but the study indicated the importance of examining the effect of environmental toxins and their impact on human health.

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