Friday, October 3, 2008

Exhaust From Heavy Traffic Lowers Your Child’s IQ

Children have lower IQs when they live in neighborhoods with heavy traffic pollution. They also score worse on other tests of intelligence and memory than children who breathe cleaner air. So reported Shakira Franco Suglia of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston in February, 2008.

The effect of pollution on intelligence was potent. Suglia found was similar to that seen in children:
• whose mothers smoked 10 cigarettes a day while pregnant
• who have been exposed to lead.

One polluting chemical was especially damaging. Black carbon. It’s in automobile and truck exhaust, particularly by diesel vehicles. The more heavily exposed children were to black carbon the lower were their scores on several intelligence tests.

Even when the researchers adjusted for the effects of parents' education, language spoken at home, birth weight, and exposure to tobacco smoke, the association remained.

Heavy exposure to black carbon was linked to a 3.4-point drop in IQ, on average and lower scores on tests of vocabulary, memory and learning.

Read “Air pollution smothers kids” – covering a study reported in the July,2006, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine,

You may not be able to do much shield your child from outdoor pollution other than moving or avoiding areas with traffic areas, but you can take steps to make the air healthy throughout your home.

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