Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children's cognitive ability can be affected by mother's exposure to urban air pollutants

Date:
April 20, 2010
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
A European study shows that prenatal exposure to pollutants can adversely affect children's cognitive development at age 5, confirming previous findings from New York City. Researchers report that children exposed to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Krakow, Poland had a significant reduction in scores on a standardized test of reasoning ability and intelligence at age 5.

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 at age 5, confirming previous findings in a New York City (NYC) study.

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 are published online 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."

"These results contribute to the cumulative body of published evidence linking ambient air pollution levels and adverse health effects in children and are clearly relevant to public health policy," says Susan Edwards, study lead author.

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. The 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."

The present finding confirms the CCCEH's previous report in 2009 that prenatal exposure to PAHs adversely affected children's IQ at age 5 in a cohort of children of nonsmoking African American and Dominican American women in NYC (Perera et al, 2009).

"Air pollution knows no boundaries," said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which funded the study. "Researchers around the globe are finding that air pollution is harmful to children's development."

The authors also included researchers from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Jagiellonian University and The Southwest Research Institute: Zhigang Li, Shuang Wang, Virginia Rauh, Wieslaw Jedrychowski, Maria Butscher, Agnieszka Keiltyka, Elzbieta Mroz, Elzbieta Flak and David Camann. The research was funded by NIEHS and several private foundations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Edwards SC, Jedrychowski W, Butscher M, Camann D, Kieltyka A, Mroz E, et al. Prenatal Exposure to Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Children's Intelligence at Age 5 in a Prospective Cohort Study in Poland. Environ Health Perspect, April 20, 2010 DOI: 10.1289/ehp.0901070

Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Children's cognitive ability can be affected by mother's exposure to urban air pollutants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420132841.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2010, April 20). Children's cognitive ability can be affected by mother's exposure to urban air pollutants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420132841.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Children's cognitive ability can be affected by mother's exposure to urban air pollutants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420132841.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins