Monday, November 8, 2010

Impact of Pollution from Traffic on Childhood Development

The structure of Ovalene, a polycyclic aromati...
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Prenatal Exposure to Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Children’s Intelligence at 5 Years of Age in a Prospective Cohort Study in Poland (6 page pdf, Environ Health Perspect 118:1326-1331, 20 April 2010)

Also discussed here: Can Pollution Affect My Child’s IQ? (Health News, Oct. 22, 2010)

Key Quotes:

“study found that children between the ages of eight and 11 living and attending school in areas of Boston with higher levels of traffic pollutants scored an average of 3.7 points lower on IQ tests than children living in less polluted areas”

“The effect of pollution on intelligence was similar to that seen in children whose mothers smoked 10 cigarettes a day while pregnant, or in kids who have been exposed to lead,”

“showed even greater effects on the offspring of expecting mothers living in parts of Harlem and the Bronx in New York City. Researchers found that those children exposed to the highest amounts of PAH pollution had IQs some 4.31 to 4.67 lower than non-exposed kids.”

“This finding is of concern because IQ is an important predictor of future academic performance, and PAHs are widespread in urban environments and throughout the world.”

“Some researchers believe that traffic pollution acts like secondhand smoke or marijuana use, restricting oxygen and nutrients delivered to the fetus,”

“airborne PAH concentrations can be reduced through currently available controls, alternative energy sources and policy interventions,” she says. Indeed, urban planners, regulators and eco-entrepreneurs are experimenting with different methods of reducing smog and other pollutants in problem areas. But until such techniques are perfected and clean-up mandates enforced, those living near busy roadways or otherwise polluted areas put their families at risk every time the front door opens”

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