Traffic Pollution Linked To Autism…Again


Autism is a cause of growing concern in the scientific community, with more and more children seemingly diagnosed with one of the many mental disabilities that fall under the autism label. While researchers have linked autism with obvious culprits like industrial food processing, a new study suggests a strong link between high amounts of traffic pollution and children born with autism.

The study, headed by Dr. Heather E. Volk of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, showed that pregnant women exposed to high levels of traffic pollution were twice as likely to give birth to a child with a developmental disorder. Young children exposed to high levels of traffic pollution were also three times as likely to develop autism.

While the researchers are quick to point out this isn’t conclusive evidence, it backs up previous findings by other researchers. The emissions coming out of the tailpipes of automobiles are indeed quite deadly. If anyone suggests otherwise, I tell them to stick their mouth over a tailpipe of a running car for five minutes.

This is just one more argument for a move away from a fossil fuel-based economy. We will all be better off when automobiles run cleaner, allowing everyone to breathe a little easier.

Source: Treehugger

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • george

    I wonder if living near high tension power lines causes brain problems also, the DOE might want to investigate that correlation.

  • Mark

    My theory is that in countries that highly developed, hormones have been being added to milk and we see earlier onset of puberty. I believe this has a direct effect on development in utero and higher onset of different myelin wiring in more and more children.

  • Jason Carpp

    How does that cause Autism?

    • Marc P.

      Uh… they don’t even know exactly what Autism is, really, at the brain level, much less what factors cause it and, especially, how they cause it…

      It’s just basic correlation and that’s how science inches its way to a better understanding of this condition… one little step at a time.

      Out of two chunks of random population, you can correlate that those being exposed to this or that element (as opposed to those not being exposed or being exposed to a much lower level) get a higher percentage of this or that condition. It’s not an absolute causal link but at TWICE the level of diagnosed cases among the children of women who are more heavily exposed… car pollution does qualify as a very reel “risk factor”.

      It’s a small step in the big picture, but hurray if it motivates us all to move away from fossil fuels that much faster…

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  • Sitting in front of the TV, not socializing early and playing video games 4 hours a day before you are 10 probably is a bigger factor….


  • udongirl

    As some one on the autism spectrum being ASPIE myself. its not that there actually has been an explosion in the cases of autism. Its that the definition of the spectrum has been expanded. Twenty years ago I would not have been in the spectrum but as the understanding of the spectrum has been expanded it has been understood that there is more and more of us that are in the spectrum. This is just another case of N.T’s trying to find a link with out actually doing a little logical thought.