Does proximity to high volumes of car traffic lead to autism?
Maybe, maybe not, but research by the University of Southern California and published in JAMA Psychiatry shows an association between the numbers of autistic children with levels of nitrogen dioxide and micro-fine particulate pollutants when the children are in the womb and shortly after birth. The USC researchers say further epidemiological and toxicological examinations of likely biological pathways will help determine whether these associations are causal.
This study is not a smoking gun for autism, but we already know fine particulate matter causes brain damage. This is in addition to other direct damage caused by driving cars such as various respiratory diseases (from emissions), stress-induced illnesses (from road noise), and various cancers (from VOC, NOx, and maybe PM).
Abstract is here; full journal article available to subscribers.