Published Online: August 11, 2009
Published in Print: August 12, 2009, as Air Pollution and IQ

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Air Pollution and IQ

"Prenatal Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure and Child IQ at Age 5 Years"

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In another Pediatrics study, researchers for the first time have linked air-pollution exposure before birth to lower IQ scores in childhood, bolstering evidence that smog may harm the developing brain.

The results are in a study of 249 children of New York City women who wore backpack air monitors for 48 hours during the last few months of pregnancy. They lived in mostly low-income neighborhoods in northern Manhattan and the South Bronx, where they experienced varying levels of exposure to typical kinds of urban air pollution.

On IQ tests taken at age 5, the children exposed to the most pollution before birth scored an average of 4 to 5 points lower than children with less exposure, according to the reporteven after researchers took into account other factors that could influence IQ, including secondhand-smoke exposure, the home learning environment, and air-pollution exposure after birth. Their report appears in the journals August issue.

Vol. 28, Issue 37, Pages 4-5

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