What to Read Next

Autism risk link to traffic pollution doubted

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
27 November 2012


The study in California involved more than 500 children, finding those who were exposed to high levels of pollution were three times more likely to be autistic than children living in the cleanest air measured.

But experts have called the findings ‘very unlikely’ to show a causal link and remain unconvinced.

The Autism spectrum covers a range of social interaction disorders, including Asperger’s syndrome, that vary from mild to severe and are typified by problems with social skills and communication. Experts have questioned how pollutants change the brain’s development.

The study compared 279 children with autism and 245 without with the levels of pollution they were exposed to in the womb and during the first year of their lives. It concluded that children whose homes were exposed to the highest levels of pollution had a three times higher risk of having autism than those with the lowest.

Uta Frith, professor of cognitive development at University College London (UCL) said: "It seems to me very unlikely that the association is causal."

She added: “The study does not get us any further since it does not present a convincing mechanism by which pollutants could affect the developing brain to result in autism.”



[Related: 'Raising my autistic and epileptic daughter']



The study does not factor in other risk factors for autism, such as family history, and rather than being able to claim traffic pollution causes autism, it merely suggests there is a link of some kind.

Sophia Xiang Sun, from the University of Cambridge's autism research centre, said regardless of the study, cutting pollution would be beneficial to our general health.

"We know that traffic-related air pollution can contribute to many other diseases and conditions, and it is biologically plausible it also has a role in pathways of autism.


[Related: Older dads up risk of autism]



"However, whether or not the potential association between autism and traffic-related air pollution exists, reduction of traffic-related air pollution would be good for public health."

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Success is in Your Hands

At MMI, you’ll get the hands-on experience and high-tech skills that employers need. A great career as a motorcycle technician is within reach.

Update Your Look: Bell Sleeves

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Stop Paying Too Much For Your Prescriptions.

Drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies. GoodRx finds the lowest prices and discounts. Compare prices, print free coupons & save up to 80%.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Over 100 Million Items to Choose From at Sears

Save On Top Brands and Shop Everything From Appliances, Apparel, Lawn and Garden, Tools and more. 1 store Over 100 million items. It s all at Sears!

Consolidate your Student Loans by Refinancing

Refinance your student loans to a lower rate with SoFi. Find out how much you can save!

This Movie Deal Is Sure To Get Your Attention!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

9 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.

Compare rates. Save big.

We'll compare rates so you have more time for important things… like cats.

Nearly 1M People Trust This to Keep Them Safe.

Tech experts like CNET call it “better, smarter home security.” Cops use it in stings to catch criminals. Meet SimpliSafe.

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

How to Create a Social Support Strategy

Meet your customers where they are. Read this e-book from Desk.com to learn six things to consider as you plan your social support strategy.