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Research has shown that environmental factors likely play a role in autism. Studies also indicate that genetics contribute to the disorder.  The National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) supports research to discover how the environment may influence autism. This important environmental research offers real promise for prevention — because you can’t change your genes, but you can change your environment. ....

More and source: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/autism_and_the_environment_508.pdf