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Study Links Autism to 405 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 405 Freeway near Brentwood.

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.

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