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Does pollution affect kids IQ?

doespollutionkidsiq.jpgYes, according to a recent study conducted by Harvard researchers,

The study shows that kids who live in neighborhoods with heavy traffic pollution have lower IQs and score worse on other tests of intelligence and memory than children who breathe cleaner air. This is based on their study on 202 Boston children age 8 to 11 years old where they estimated the children?s exposure to black carbon which is an emission in automobile and truck exhaust, particularly by diesel vehicles.

Children exposed heavily to black carbon had a 3.4-point drop in IQ and also scored lower on tests of vocabulary, memory and learning. The researchers suggest that traffic pollution possibly affects the intelligence of the children by causing inflammation and oxidative damage to their brain.

According to research team leader Dr. Shakira Franco Suglia, 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.


MSNBC, 15 Feb 2008

Suglia et al. American Journal of Epidemiology 2008 167(3):280-286

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