New link between autism and traffic pollution

A new study published in the journal "Environmental Health Perspectives" shows that children who live near a freeway (not just a major road) have double the risk of autism. More specifically, the study says "children born to mothers living within 309 meters." (If my math is correct, I think that's about 1/5 of a mile.)

The researchers believe that both genetics and environment play a major role in increasing autism rates. 

While plenty of studies have shown that air pollution can harm a developing fetus, more are starting to show that it can also harm infants during their first couple years - especially cognitive development delay.

And yes, the researchers made adjustments for things like gender, parents' education levels, mother's age, ethnicity and if the parents smoked.

So why would traffic pollution increase autism?

The pollutants cause inflammation and oxidative stress, which have both been shown to add to the development of autism. 

Here's the study:


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