It's well known that air pollution can cause of all kinds of nasty health problems - headaches, nausea, allergic reactions, chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer and heart disease counted among them. But according to new research, it can also make unborn children stupid.
A study by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) carried out in Krakow, Poland has found that prenatal exposure to pollutants can adversely affect children's cognitive development by age 5.
Researchers report that children exposed to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Krakow had a significant reduction in scores on a standardized test of reasoning ability and intelligence at age 5. The study findings appear in Environmental Health Perspectives.
PAHs are released into the air from the burning of fossil fuels for transportation, heating, energy production, and from other combustion sources.
"The effect on intelligence was comparable to that seen in NYC children exposed prenatally to the same air pollutants," noted Frederica Perera, professor of Environmental Health Sciences and director of the CCCEH at the Mailman School of Public Health, and senior author. "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."
The study included a cohort of 214 children who were born to healthy, non-smoking Caucasian women in Krakow, Poland between 2001 and 2006. During pregnancy, the mothers completed a questionnaire, wore small backpack personal air monitors to estimate their babies' PAH exposure, and provided a blood sample and/or a cord blood sample at the time of delivery.
The children were followed through the age of 5 when they were tested using the Raven Coloured Progressive Matrices (RCPM) Test of reasoning ability and intelligence.
Researchers accounted for other factors such as second-hand smoke exposure, lead and mother's education. Study participants exposed to air pollution levels below the median (17.96 nanograms per cubic meter) were designated as having "low exposure," while those exposed to pollution levels above the median were identified as "high exposure."
"Air pollution knows no boundaries," said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "Researchers around the globe are finding that air pollution is harmful to children's development."
Citation: Edwards et al., 'Prenatal Exposure to Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Children’s Intelligence at Age 5 in a Prospective Cohort Study in Poland', Environmental Health Prospectives, ' April 2010; doi:10.1289/ehp.0901070
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- A Dimuon Particle At 30 GeV In ALEPH ??
- President Obama, Why Humans On Mars Right Now Are Bad For Science
- Who Is Trying To Destroy The Internet?
- Journalists - Please Fact Check Your "Doomsday" News Stories -They Terrify Young Children And Vulnerable People
- DDoS war: How zombie fridges bit the internet in the a$$ today.
- A Racist On The Jews: Let The Donald Trump!
- Metaphors in Quantum Mechanics
- "Politely speaking; Vongehr's model must be premised on asexual reproduction. In the real world..."
- "/* Hallelujah, HEP is saved! */ Are we doing research for saving some branch of physics? The science..."
- "Right, actually praying for something not to happen just focuses your mind on it - it doesn't tend..."
- "It's nonsense. He gives no sources and no astronomical reasoning at all. He makes it a matter of..."
- "Ive got a baby mr walker that i love with all my heart and this just petrifies me i keep getting..."
- The Math of Hunting and Fishing: When to Work Together
- Placebo: Bubbles Of Nothing Are Still Not Something
- People Who Take Drugs May Be Likelier to Commit Suicide
- Improved 'Screen Time' Guidelines Could Make Parents & Kids Happier
- Dr. Jamie Wells Named One Of America's Top Pediatricians
- Why Did EPA Delay Its Glyphosate Safety Report?