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Study Links Autism to 605, 91 Freeway Traffic

The UCLA study identifies 7,603 autistic children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy.

Researchers at UCLA have discovered a link between cases of autism in Los Angeles County and air pollution caused mostly by freeway traffic in the area, including that of the 605 and 91 freeways running through Cerritos and Artesia.

The study, published March 1 in Environmental Health Perspectives, looked at 7,603 children ages 3-5 who were diagnosed with autism during 1998-2009 and found associations between the disorder and pregnant women living in Los Angles County. The researchers worked closely with the California Department of Developmental Services and other agencies to identify children for the study.

The researchers — Tracy Ann Becerra, Michelle Wilhelm, Jørn Olsen, Myles Cockburn and Beate Ritz — used a land-use regression model of statistical analysis and data from ambient air pollutant monitoring stations positioned throughout L.A. County.

Katherine George Chu March 13, 2013 at 09:06 PM
As a Cerritos resident who lives between the 91 and 605 freeways...and who has an adult son with Autism (who was diagnosed in 1998), I find this study interesting...but I'm not sure if it holds water. Every few months, a new study comes out pinpointing something or other that causes Autism. If you had an aging father, if you were born with jaundice, if you were exposed to certain medications, ultraviolet light, if you had a sibling...you could have Autism. The fact is that the rate of Autism continues to increase, everywhere, across the globe. We do not have a known cause. Could it be environmental? Quite possibly. Genetic? Maybe. I appreciate that studies are being done and I hope we will find answers...and maybe one day, a cure. Until then, we have children being diagnosed everyday and adults with Autism who are seeking employment, education, housing, and a better future.
Gail Grossman March 14, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Great comments as usual but a truly great mom. An advocate to those who have to battle these problems everyday. A lady who has does wonders with her adult son.
James Hauser March 14, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Isn't it great that there are people trying to pinpoint causes -- Sometimes it takes many studies, statistics, and research before the accurate cause is finally identified. Keep a positive attitude and hopefully one of the myriad of studies will be the answer.
Katherine George Chu March 14, 2013 at 11:46 PM
you are very kind, Gail. I shared this study with our families here in the City of Cerritos. I am always pleased to see coverage about Autism, as well as, read about issues that effect the disabled community. Thanks @Patch for bringing us this study.
Katherine George Chu March 15, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Yes James, you are right. It is great that scientist are working fervently to try and find out the cause behind Autism. Hopefully we will find it soon. I worry though, that just like the thimerosal link that turned out to be false, many families who are desperate to find answers may take these studies to heart instead of with a grain of salt... i.e., forsaking immunizations, out of fear, because of a published study...or in this case, not buying a home anywhere near the 605/91 freeways. Autism is found all over the world, not just in places close to freeway traffic. No need to pack up and become a hermit, just yet. I may have just become more jaded, the older my son has become, I will do my best to stay positive :)

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