Traffic pollution 'linked to autism'

30 November 2012

Exposure to high levels of traffic pollution could be linked to autism, scientists have said.

Researched used data from the US Environmental Protection Agency to calculate levels of pollution for various addresses in California.

They then compared exposure to pollution in the womb and during the first year of life with rates of autism in the area.

The team of scientists from the University of Southern California found that children who were in homes exposed to the most pollution "were three times as likely to have autism compared with children residing in homes with the lowest levels of exposure".

Authors warned these findings could have "large" implications due to the common nature of pollution, and the fact that it could have lasting neurological effects.

Despite the fact that traffic pollution and autism have previously been linked, many critics slammed the study, saying that it is near-impossible to determine cause and effect.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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