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Living Near Freeway Autism Risk?

Managing Editor's Note: We lived in spitting distance of a major highway in Ohio when I became pregnant with Mia (if you stopped on the highway you could see into our kitchen) and in Doylestown, PA with Gianna too. With Bella, we lived within half a mile of another major route in Ohio. Interesting observation. Maybe Mark and I are genetically programmed to live near highways? Read the full paper HERE.


Mark Byers

The explosion in rates of Autism began at about the same time as the introduction of catalytic converters. Has anyone done a study of the effects of exposure to palladium or platinum which are used in the converters


Prior to the 70's auto gas contained tetraethyl lead. U.S. highways were created by Dwight Eisenhower well before any doctor knew the word autism. Children have been vaccinated for at least 3 decades. The only factor that has exploded in the last 20 years is cell phone towers and repeaters, especially near highways. The link between neurological conditions and RF radiation is strong. But that's like talking to an alcoholic about abstinence. We are all addicted to wireless devices, so it is better to ignore this until things get worse.


I would suggest that any family with an autistic child should check their home's indoor air quality. I would start with the most common indoor pollutant, formaldehyde. Using the same method (passive formaldehyde badges) as the Sierra Club used to discover the FEMA trailers can be done by anyone and at $39 including lab fees is affordable.

I would suggest that the link between increased autism and freeways is not the freeway but the fact that families tend to keep their windows closed to keep the "bad" stuff out. Reality is the air inside our home is far worse than the air outside and keeping the windows closed allows the inside pollutants to concentrate. Open your windows. What was the autism rate when we lived in caves?



It's funny you should mention too much TV and too much rainfall because I was just looking at the unintentionally hilarious paper "Does Television Cause Autism?" It's obvious that it, in all its 28 versions, was ginned up to respond to Dan Olmsted's reporting on the extremely low rate of autism among unvaccinated Amish. The Amish, you see, don't watch TV while Californians can't tear themselves away when it's raining.

It did cross my mind that this freeway-autism link might be another pass at denying the obvious, should that become necessary again. I've never been to Amish country, but I'm guessing that not too many Amish live within 1000 ft of a major artery.

Here's the "television causes autism" paper:


I think we should just start collecting our favorite autism risk factors meant to obfuscate:

Too much rainfall
too much TV
older moms
older dads
living near a freeway
too little vitamin D
not breastfeeding

I think there are some legitimate risks like well, lets see, too many vaccines given to a child with a family history of autoimmune disorders and mtDNA mutations but just lets throw out things and see what sticks.


"Had" sex...

"Had" being the operative word. ;)


HAVING SEX CAUSES AUTISM!!!! I know it! Mark and I had sex - oh yes we did - you've read my "Sex Time" chapter haven't you?


Autism is so damn common now people are bound to live near the highway. Why not research how closely ASD kids live to Wal-mart, or Walgreen's ( they are on almost every corner)', McDonald's and every other common popular eating or shopping establishment around the country?

Waste of time, tax dollars, and efforts. Living near a highway might cause autism. Injecting mercury under the guise of prevention based medical care perfectly safe. It's anything, but the precious vaccines.

Study the children who have regressed, look at vaccinated versus unvaccinated.


"This work was supported by NIEHS grants ES019002, ES009581,ES013578, ES007048, ES11269, ES015359, RD831861, EPA Star-R-823392, EPA Star-R-833292, the MIND Institute matching funds and pilot grant program, and Autism Speaks."

Doesn't that disclosure pretty-much say it all? Autism Speaks? Hmmmmmm.

Case-control studies of this type are notoriously vulnerable to selection bias. Conclusions from studies of this type are precisely the type of bogus, misinformation that the public is gullible enough to fall for. This study promotes the myth that the tidal wave of ASD, ADHD, schizophrenia, CFS/ME, Parkinson's, MS, Tourette's, Kawasaki's, bipolar, and depression, is genetic in origin.

The interview talks loosely about "some sort of gene-environment interaction" and "genetic risk" for autism - to me, that's bogus. It promotes the myth that ASD is genetic in origin and that "bad genes" are responsible for ASD.

We all share the common susceptibility factor to these diseases - the vaccine schedules and mandated inoculations - which is exacerbated by certain dietary deficiencies. The multiple toxins in the vaccine schedules and mandated inoculations completely dwarf the effect of individual differences in "genetics" as well as any individual differences in proximity to highways.

This study and studies of this ilk are obfuscations, which are intended, as Anne points out, to show that "toxic vaccines are still safe". A complete waste of our tax dollars


I see that Hertz-Picciotto is an author of this study so how does this mesh with her California autism clusters (in particular the Golden Gate and Valley Mountain clusters) and all the "highly educated parents" business?

Here are the California autism clusters. You can see the freeways. They're blue.


The Low CG Syndrome appears to be a “smoking gun” for a growing number of diseases. Mercury has been associated with DNA hypomethylation in Polar bears. Glutathione depletion has been associated with thimerosal exposure. Glutathione deficit may be a vulnerability factor for schizophrenia.

Suppose AIDS was not what we were told that it - a retrovirus mediated disease. Suppose AIDS, ASD, ADHD, CFS-ME, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Tourette’s, Kawasaki’s, and Parkinson’s disease were ALL acquired immune deficiencies due to some combination of dietary sulfur deficiency, cholesterol deficiency, vitamin D3 deficiency, glutathione deficiency, the vaccine schedules, mercury amalgam dentistry, and DNA hypomethylation?


I did not say that!
I went back to see what I said, and you are putting your own thoughts into what I have written! Stop it! I have done nothing to you, or againest you!

But then again
Aspie; Try to remember that I have a daughter that bullies me for every little thing that she decides that I implied too! Have you checked yourself for those mood disorders that we talked about earlier?????

You never did tell me?


Benedetta: I care about implications. In your post, you said that intelligent people can't possible have a gene for autism (or possibly any other disorder). I'm not too sure about your case but I was born this way. I've never had any seizures or adverse reactions to vaccines other people are talking about. Some people state that none of it is genetic when some people are born with this neurological wiring.


"Some previous studies have hinted that exposure to pesticides may play a role and a study in Texas showed that exposure to mercury in the environment --but not in vaccines -- could be a causative agent."

Now where do they get the control groups, the NT's"? What is the community at large, outside of redlines or in?
This "study" isn't a year old! You have to love their efforts..-but not in vaccines_ HA!
Do they offer vaccines at these regional centers? Davis is all over the map, as someone said.."hiding the elephant"


I'm still laughing, ABC,that was too funny!

Taking a closer look, I see differences in the demographics between the participants with autism/dd without autism and the nt control group. That's a HUGE problem!!

•Children with autism
•Children with developmental delay (DD) but not autism
•Children with typical or expected development
The first two groups will be identified with assistance from the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Regional Centers. Participating Regional Centers include: Alta, North Bay, Valley Mountain, and East Bay Regional Centers. The third group will come from the community at large.

Anne McElroy Dachel

I agree that there are many possible triggers for autism.
I can predict that officials will be much more open to this possible link than the idea that vaccines cause autism.
The CDC has dedicated itself to DISPROVING the VACCINE-AUTISM LINK. Sudden regression after vaccinations is coincidence. Every effort has been made to show this.
Will they quickly say living by an interstate is coincidence also? Probably not. They're not implicated in the claim.
Anne Dachel



You shouldn't be offended by Benedetta. I find her comments to be insightful and intelligent. She is expressing HER experience and how others judge us parents and our genes in society. I can confirm that I've been treated this way as well....dismissed....that our "situation" is somehow our problem and it is our faulty genes that have made our kids this way. My son is an Aspie and I took zero offense from her post. Also, I'd like to add that being an Aspie is quite different for everyone. The saying goes, "If you've met one person with Autism, you've met one person with Autism." Perhaps your life is awesome and if that's the case, then great. However, that is YOUR reality and not necessarily the experience others are having.


Okay - that was such a bad interview, I could barely pay attention to the researcher. The woman in yellow is from Mars.

Comment on the piece. It's not one toxin it's many. Rates of cancer, preemies, asthma, all sorts of things go up closer to major roadways. I am thankful that they have added one more to the list.

I welcome the association - that somehow our children can't handle toxins of all sorts (including aluminum and mercury).

Nancy Naylor

I know this theory isn't popular on this website, but cell phone towers are rampant along highways and although highways have been around for a very long time, the cell phone towers have not. In fact, I think they've been increasing at a similar rate and over a similar time period as the rise incidence in autism. Coincidence? That's what many people tell us about vaccines.

Mike Kohloff

And what about the years 1920 to 1980 with very high car use, mostly with Leaded Gas, inefficient engines, no catalytic converters, & almost No Autism?
But then in the 1980's, when leaded gas was phased out & the vaccination schedule began to increase about 3 fold, suddenly we begin to have a "genetic" epidemic which of course is an impossibility.
Sadly, this condition greatly reduces the chances of passing it on to future generations. But if this Autistic population were reproducing, I'd wager that if they avoided vaccinating their offspring, their children would have a very low Autism rate.
Especially if they kept them away from highways, supposedly.
Does anyone smell "desperately reaching for anything & everything."
And all these parents of Autistic children are lying or delusional about the regression shortly after the shots.

michael framson

Here’s my sense of relative risk of autism empirically based.
1:100,000 Living in an Amish community (mostly due to environmental toxins)
1:50,000 living near a free-way (mostly due to environmental toxins)
1:10,000 living near a coal fired power plant
1:1,000 living on a polluted planet
1:250 amalgams present in the mother
1:110 well-baby appointments 1990-2004
1:68 (boys) following the CDC, AAP recommended vaccination schedule
1:25 (boys) listening to the main stream media on anything that causes or treats autism

What’s interesting is that from a prospective risk assessment is that reading "Age of Autism" prior to conceiving or having children has a protective effect putting the relative risk for autism back to 1:100,000

NOTE: The above risk assessment is pretty much crap just like all the CDC, Pharma, AAP, NIH, Danish, Verstraten studies, published in the medical journals with the exception of the protective effects of Age of Autism.


Donna I think you literally caused me to bust a stitch! I'm on my way to the ER, can't wait to tell them why I'm bleeding. :)


haha, Amy Becker Clark, I was thinking the same thing -- How could anyone sponsor or support or publicize this terrible "anti-freeway" research which threatens the very foundation of our transportation system?!?

I agree with KDM that this research does have value. And, it appears that studies on topics such as environmental toxins, immune system disfunction, and mitochondrial disorders may help lay a foundation for better understanding of how vaccines cause autism. And like Adriana said, this study is consistent with toxic metals being a factor in autism. It almost seems like scientists have to approach vaccine research from the side instead of head on.

It is frustrating that vaccines are still so untouchable in many respects, but at least FOX has also done some good stories on vaccines.

One does wonder, though, whether the latest vaccine-defense strategy is to investigate thousands of environmental factors as a smoke screen to obscure the elephant in the room. I'm not saying that's what these particular scientists are doing.


Don't care if I insulted you!

Why: because I had no intention of insulting anyone, and you as usual are looking to pick a fight!

If there is anyone that is insulted it would be me and my family! It is US that has been insulted for years when I judge from the look in people's eyes, the tone of their voice and their manner (includes the medical profession too) that it's my family
genes: we are just a diseased, dumb bunch and we deserve everything we get.

And if it is not people I meet on a personal level, then it is the attitude of the CDC that we are dumb and deserve all we get or we would not even mention that the precious vaccines might be a problem.

I am insulted that you are insulted.


Donna - comment of the year!

Donna L.

In light of these recent findings, the AAP is now urging all parents to take the back roads when traveling to and from those all important well-baby visits.


If your kids watch Elmo in the house near the highway Fuggedaboudit....


ha ha ha ha. Thanks for the laugh. I guess highways weren't around in the 1970's. This is a joke, right?


Benedetta, are you calling your child an idiot for being on the spectrum? Are you calling everyone on the spectrum a moron? That's exactly what you are implying with your post. If so, I am highly insulted.

Cynthia Cournoyer

Did this study control for the very recent increase in vaccinating pregnant women for flu?

Did they compare their study outcome to ten years ago, using the same methods?

Did they compare those living within 1000 feet from the freeway to the entire population of the country to come up with "twice" the rate of autism, or did they compare to people living within 2000 feet of the freeway living in the same community? As with many vaccine studies the variables are carefully manipulated to control the OUTCOME of the study, not to control the study.

Cynthia Cournoyer

So we take the lead out of gasoline and oila! more autism? There was far less autism back when leaded fuel was being used. It is a well known fact that highly populated areas are more vaccinated. More opportunity for free clinics etc. Highly populated areas have more freeways. How perfectly-unscientific to state one outcome of a study without showing how they controlled the variables! Typical of vaccine studies. Hmmmmmmm, maybe there is a connection from this study to Pharma. Too bad the hosts didn't ask who funded it!

"Other factors in the environment...." Maybe vaccines are a factor in our environment? Hazmat team to clean up broken flu vials? Anyone?

Notice the good questions coming from the hosts. They seem "educated" and worried and hoping someone will ANSWER this problem. The education is working. Maybe soon, the hosts will get tired of the same ole answers like we are.

Meanwhile, notice how the people who support vaccinating want to make you believe they are "looking into it" so (unspoken) "stop bothering us!"


The study doesn't vindicate mercury in the environment or vaccines, probably even substantiates mercury (and "complementary" metals) as a causal factor. Not mentioned in the report: resuspended road dust in Los Angeles is loaded with toxic metals:

"[Road dust] Resuspension by Los Angeles Interstate 405 significantly increased atmospheric particle numbers and metal concentrations, however both returned to urban background levels via dry deposition within 100–150 m of th...e highway":

Amy Becker Clark

Heather Volk is an anti-freeway conspiracy theorist nut-job! Her dangerous rhetoric could shut down the country's main transportation system, causing inconvenience and economic harm to millions. She must be stopped... I'm sure the government's transportation departments are doing everything they can to discredit her.


Umm, I think I can speak for all of us as to how weird it is to read a study such as this, blathering on about hiways when there isn't even a study comparing vaccinated children VS un-vaccinated children. It almost comes across as kind of comical. One more theory checked anyways...


Sarah, I would point out that the study only points out a higher risk associated with living near a freeway. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen if not near a highway.

Here is a link to a synopsis of the Wakefield talk I mentioned as well as how to obtain a DVD of the talk. It is well worth the $ and supports a great organization (Austim One) and company (ZenWorks) that are helping to champion our kids:


I think people should think about things in the larger context here. Autism is likely to be found as something that is multifactoral in it's causes. Many of the writers of this blog have championed that same thought.

To start off simplistically and relate it only to vaccines; what set of vaccines caused damage in one child may be different than what set caused it in another. But since some kids get the same vaccines and don't get damage there are likely other factors involved both genetic and environmental (does the child have predisposing genetic factors, where they on antibiotics or other meds, what were the stress factors in that child's life - like living next to a highway or coal burning power plant). So these other points are important to understand to know what may have brought them to the toxic tipping point.

As much as genetic studies are dogged around here we should be applauding an environmental study. It's important that anything that is found to be associated with autism to be considered. A few years back a study found that rates of autism where higher in the wind field of coal burning power plants. Was this one not thrown out only because it fit one's paradigm? But tie the current one together and look at this way; what is it in air pollution from highways and coal burning plants that might be in common? And then that answer could possibly be applied a step further to ask what does that have in common with vaccines or how might that contribute to stress when receiving vaccines?

In science fields, psychology for example, they talk about whether something is nature or nurture (genetic or environmental). Yet there exists a third possibility - genetics and environment - what as known as G x E. This is when the environment interacts with genetics to cause a change. To understand this one must look both at the genetics and the environmental agents acting with it. So both can be important to finding the cause or CAUSES.

GxE interactions are accepted and talked about in our community quite frequently. One needs to look no farther than Dr Wakefield recently discussing DVM's at Autism One last year or the EU hearing. He talked about how thaliomide (sp?) and other drugs were known to interfere with key developmental genes which resulted in swelling of a certain part of the brain in those exposed and then presenting with autism. He then talked about this GxE interaction and related to what is being found in the primate models at the study of University of Pittsburgh as vaccine toxicity and timing manifesting in a similar way.

Other GxE interactions I would point out and I think readily accepted here would be problems with methylation and the MTHFR gene and the point Dr Haley makes about testosterone levels being correlated to higher amounts of damage (thus a genetic tie of the increased incidence in boys).

Yes it's shame more direct studies about vaccines are not done. But since they currently aren't I wouldn't poo-poo the merits of this study. In the bigger picture it could help provided insight to one of the factors implicated in causing autism.


ERRRRRR! ( gameshow buzzer)

Incorrect again. I get so sad when a theory arises and my situation doesn't fit the criteria. Not an old mom, dad, too much tv, pet shampoo, and all the other "theories" fit my own situation.



Kids that live near major highways do have more incidence of autism would be because:

It is easier to get to the peditrician's office!

Case in point:
I did not live close to major highways, but I did live in easy traveling distance to my children's peditrician group, and health department. It was on my side of town in a small town.
------------------------------ ARRGGGGG
Especiall toward the end of this conversation did you hear rambling stupid talk?;
More boys than girls have autism, The incident has risen but it is genetic though.
If you are going to be a talking head, then that head needs to be an intelligent talking head.

Yeap, it is our bad genes that are dumber than dirt - we all came from homeless shelters - right? No we did not, my family is a family of nurses and teachers, and I married a guy that was a chemical engineer, his father was a Methodist preacher, his mother was one of the top dieticians in a major hospital in Californian and wrote a well read book on the subject,one of his grandfathers was a railroad engineer and worked on the big disel engines, the other grandfather came from a family that was involved with Thomas Edison and electrical companies -(look up Stilwell family involvement with the name Edison) that grandfather was an electrical engineer.

Autism: too much of that and I would not be talking about ancestors because this is a pretty much elimanation future generation disease.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Oh Kim ........that comment about being "genetically programmed to live near highways" was too much. LOL....

Air pollution from interstate traffic can affect neurodevelopment----WOW......they'll be studying this idea for years.


Anne Dachel


Thank gawd they are finally on the right track after 20 years, with this "autism highway" research... How could anyone argue with a PhD / Prostitute of hype and Dis-information ???

The damn problem was right down the street the whole time...time to start moving some roads which will also create jobs and save the nation.

What was the cost of this life changing study that will help thousands of Autistic children across the United States ?

Are any follow up studies planned for other highways in the other 49 states ?


Oops....I sent the wrong study before.
Here is the study that measures cadmium around highways:

Maurine Meleck

I say "Get rid of all freeways."


I live in a small town near the ocean and it's nowhere near a freeway. On my street alone, we had three boys dxed: One boy with MR & Autism, one Aspergers and my son- autism. Five kids in my sons SPED class k-2 on the spectrum.

I would say the emissions are not good for any childs health but I question whether there's a link to the onset of autism. Did they look at the CO2 blood levels or did they just plot autism cases on a map? What happened when they went further out than 1000 feet from the freeway?

I'm not sure this has meaning.

Steph M

What a waste of taxpayer monies.


It's interesting to see this as I found information about this a few months ago. I was looking up cadmium and mercury.
There is research that measures the amount of cadmium released around highways (Ohio was studied):

Adam M

Gee Doc. What about the pollution being directly injecting into their little bodies? Aluminum, Formaldehyde, Mercury, MSG, Polysorbate 80? Any of that cause a problem? Huh Doc? Or do you just have to be in that tidal wave of people, mostly with boys, who in the last 20 yrs moved to have quick access to the interstate?

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