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Our Kids’ Brains…and Air Pollution

Our Kids’ Brains…and Air Pollution

Air pollution.  It exacerbates climate change, raises asthma rates, is even linked to appendicitis and now, it’s been proven to affect children’s mental development. 

AP reports on a study published in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics that demonstrates for the first time a connection between air pollution and lower IQ.  A group of New York City women were outfitted with backpack monitors to measure air pollution exposure for 48 hours during the last few months before birth.  Their 249 children were given IQ tests at age five: “those exposed to the most pollution before birth scored on average four to five points lower than children with less exposure.”   

Air pollution has been shown to hurt people in low-income areas more, since polluting entities frequently build in low-rent districts  where there is less political power and more hunger for tax dollars.  But we are all affected, right now.A The American Lung Associations asserts, for instance, that 90% of Californians breathe unhealthy air at some point in a year. An EPA study finds that New York residents face a far higher than “average” risk of cancer from air pollutants. As is so often the case, the developing world is suffering the most from unregulated pollution.  In 2007 the World Bank estimated that over 700,000 deaths annually can be attributed to air pollution….in China alone. (And those figures were hidden from the Chinese people.)

The researchers will continue monitoring and testing the children to assess school performance and watch for other long-term effects. Data and research are essential and should continue, but how much more evidence do we really need to know that more must be done to curb pollution? On Care2, there are over 100 petitions on the topic of pollution.  Our individual actions, from driving to using fireplaces to voting, are vital to help ourselves, our fellow creatures…and our kids.

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Ed Yourdon, Creative Commons

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6 comments

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10:42AM PDT on Jul 22, 2009

Children are like sponges they take the good in with the bad so they are more open to everything because they are so small.
The only time that we will take care of Mother Earth is when human babies are going to start dropping dead in the streets for no apparent reason but because and when we find out the real reason is because of the air they are breathing maybe just maybe we will act but by then it will be to late.
Humans for the most part just don't get it at all that we are killing off everything we come into contact with even our own.

9:44AM PDT on Jul 22, 2009

What!!! You mean there is something besides smoking and second hand smoke that causes health problems? Tobacco has been the culprit for too long that detracts from the environmental issues that corporate America wants to keep hidden.

8:42AM PDT on Jul 22, 2009

It seems that most all articles regarding air pollution talk only about OUTDOOR air pollution. The EPA states that INDOOR air pollution is 5 to 10 times worse than OUTDOOR air pollution.

Our society today spends up to 90% of the day INDOORS!

No one invests in studying the effects of cleaning methods or cleaning products. WHY?

Life experience has shown me that a person's mood, performance and alertness can be significantly affected by the quality of the air in the work place and at home.

Aromatherapists have been promoting these concepts for years.

Cleaning outdoor air is an important group focus.

We as individuals have greater control of the air quality in our own home.

Care2 needs to investigate effective methods of indoor cleaning methods including air cleaning and dispell misleading marketing of profit motivated studies.

4:49AM PDT on Jul 22, 2009

I'd like to see this study compared with data from Eastern Europe, where energy from coal, also used to heat residences, has been the norm for decades. In some Rumanian towns the haze is so thick you'd think you were in a movie about Victorian London.

7:49PM PDT on Jul 21, 2009

I agree; "I" am, but "we" is too general. Which "we" is the poll author talking about here?

Thanks for the article. :) Yet another thing I can tell my friend about blasted air pollution! Linked to asthma, cancer, appendicitis (this surprised me), and...now...mental development in children.

4:27PM PDT on Jul 21, 2009

"I" am, but "WE"? No, as a collective I am sorry to say I do not believe the human race has evolved to that level. If we were, a large portion of Care2 would not be needed.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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