From the Utah News:

Could Utah’s high autism rates be related to Salt Lake County’s large number of toxic chemical releases?

University of Utah researchers say the question deserves more study after their preliminary review shows children with autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual disabilities are more likely to have been born near industries that emit toxic chemicals or heavy metals.

“If you take this combined with the other studies [showing links between pollution and autism], it’s pointing to something that we need to seriously look at,” said Judith Pinborough-Zimmerman, research assistant professor in the U.’s Department of Psychiatry.

She and researchers from the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and the Utah Department of Health presented their findings at The International Society for Autism Research conference last month in San Diego.

They examined the maternal addresses found on birth certificates of children born in 1993 and 1994 in Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties who were later diagnosed with autism or other mental disabilities. They also mapped the addresses of children without a known neurodevelopmental disorder.

They found that children born to mothers who lived within a mile of what are called Toxic Release Inventory sites that emit certain chemicals and heavy metals were more likely to have those problems.