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Study Links Autism to 110 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 110 Freeway running through South Pasadena.

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.

Chris Evans March 11, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Wow .. that's really quite remarkable. Has autism been proved to be something that is developed in the womb, or is it something that children can acquire during their formative years? How about adults? In addition to the obvious respiratory problems caused by smog, is their any research to indicate the bio-psychological effects of smog on adults? That could explain a lot of things, IMHO.
Sam Burgess March 11, 2013 at 04:21 PM
This is but another of many studies showing the negative effects of freeway pollution. This exposure is not limited to the 110 Freeway. Something many people have been speaking about for years. And yet there are those who remain convinced that cities such as South Pasadena and communities such as El Sereno are simply NIMBY's who use these facts in an attempt to stop a freeway in their neighhoods. The 710 Freeway issue like freeway pollution is a regional issue, not a local issue. If the proposed expansion (widening) in the south & the extension in the north of the Long Beach (710) Freeway comes to fruitition, the region as a whole will suffer in a similar negative manner because of these two massive projects.
Jones Foyer March 11, 2013 at 05:12 PM
The 110 running through South Pasadena isn't technically a freeway...but I'm sure you knew that already.
Sam Burgess March 11, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Jones, You are correct. When built, the 110 was know as the Arroyo Seco Parkway--because that is what it was, a Parkway (but with-out cross traffic). It was also designated as the 11 not the 110. Along the way the name was changed to the Pasadena Freeway and the designation as the 110. In December, 2010 Cal-Trans reverted to the name Arroyo Seco Parkway but retained the 110 designation. I used the Freeway term because most everyone views it as a freeway. Parkway is an unknown term in California. I also did so because I did not want to go off on a tangent. This issue is too important.
Kim Lesak March 11, 2013 at 05:53 PM
There are many, many theories about the cause of Autism and none are conclusive. Environmental factors are definitely one of the more compelling ones however and contribute to each one "the big three" childhood conditions: Autism, Asthma and Diabetes. I worry about the need in our litigious society to blame someone or something and punish them for "hurting" us. Studies such as this are important to try and pin point harmful situations that we can then correct, but not to point a finger at and admonish. No one wanted our children to get autism or asthma, but it is the predicament we are in. We should be focusing our energies in a more positive direction, looking forward instead of backward.
Liz March 11, 2013 at 11:44 PM
I lived in Downtown LA for 20 years and 7 in Highland Park. I am a parent of 2 children with autism. I was pregnant when I lived in both this places.I don't know what the cause was they did genetics test nothing was found . I think this also contributed to my children autism, besides the food we eat.
Sam Burgess March 12, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Donna, A question. Jared has posted this article on various Northeast Los Angeles & San Gabriel Valley sites yet each site shows comments from only that Patch site. Is this a Patch glitch or is it because Jared slightly changed the title for each site (i.e.: So. Pas. & Highland Park sites use the 110; Eagle Rock uses the 134 & the 6 San Gabriel Valley sites use the 210)? Since freeway pollution from all of these freeways affects all of us it would be nice if all comments were posted on all sites--the better for debate. On the personal opinion side. Jareds article is very poor reporting and does a great disservice to the authors of the original study.
Sam Burgess March 12, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Kim, I agree, there are many theories as to the cause of Autism. My comment was not clearly stated. And that is a problem. I was not specifically referring to autism but to the very real negative effects freeway pollution causes on our environment and health. Studies such as the one mentioned (when accurately reported) are important as they bring another view in the debate about the need for more freeways--as opposed to alternative solutions such as light rail. Problems begin when a study or report is as poorly reported as this article. Your comment abour our litigious society is, sadly, an accurate one, and one I agree with. I have no desire to "blame someone" or "punish them". My goal is to point out "the harmful situations which we can correct"--and that is to move (foreward and positively) from 1950's, 20th century ideas to solve what is clearly a 21st centry transportation problem. Thanks for your comments, Kim.
bellref March 12, 2013 at 02:43 AM
Have similar studies been conducted in other highly polluted cities? Mexico City, Beijing, Nanking, Cairo and New Delhi come to mind. Plus, locally in California there's Bakersfield, Visalia, and Modesto.
Marvion March 12, 2013 at 06:16 AM
The little mold lady from Pasadna had dna, i'l'oladyna .. Do u take an aspirin a day to keep your stroke/heart attack way,, studies<< show that if you take like one-day-vitamins or similar you will die 10 years before those who not take vitamin pills. If study is correct. Or, jest stop pill popping now U under age measure S supporter! Even worse... When UCLA the smog over the Rose Bowl has cleared lol!

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