Study: Living Near Freeways Doubles Infant Autism Risk

Researchers first to link condition to pollution

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Children born to mothers living near freeways may be twice as likely to have autism, according to a study released Thursday.

The paper, published by researchers from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the USC Keck School of Medicine and UC Davis MIND Institute found that children born to parents living within 1,000 feet of a freeway are two times as likely to have autism.

Air pollution is known to have physical and developmental effects on fetuses. However, the authors said the new study is the first to link vehicular pollutants to autism, although direct measurements of pollutants were not made.

“Children born to mothers living within 309 meters of a freeway appeared to be twice as likely to have autism,” said Dr. Heather Volk, the primary author of the study.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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