Babies who are exposed to lots of traffic-related air pollution in the womb and during their first year of life are more likely to become autistic, suggests a new study.
The findings support previous research linking how close children live to freeways with their risk of autism, according to the study's lead author.
"We're not saying traffic pollution causes autism, but it may be a risk factor for it," said Heather Volk, an assistant professor at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Autism is a spectrum of disorders ranging from a profound inability to communicate and mental retardation to milder symptoms seen in Asperger's syndrome.
A higher incidence of autistic children (thinking poor people live closer to freeways) and actually the opposite is true. According to this study this is not due to rich people having greater access to healthcare and therefore more likely to have children diagnosed.
3. There are a lot of ways infants can suffer a lack of oxygen.
Particularly with prenatal exposure to cigarette smoking. If that was the way pollution increased the odds (if it actually does), then there would be a correlation with kids whose mothers smoke, as well.
So it could be some other pollutant, or this could just be one of the many studies about autism disorders that just don't pan out.