Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improving air quality in NYC would boost children's future earnings by increasing IQ

Date:
May 8, 2014
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
Reducing air pollution in New York City would result in substantial economic gains for children as a result of increasing their IQs. The study is the first to estimate the costs of IQ loss associated with exposure to air pollution, and is based on prior research on prenatal exposure to air pollutants among low-income children.

Manhattan New York (stock image). According to Dr. Perera, "Our analysis suggests that a modest reduction in urban air pollution would provide substantial economic benefits and help children realize their full potential."
Credit: © Marco / Fotolia

Reducing air pollution in New York City would result in substantial economic gains for children as a result of increasing their IQs. The study is the first to estimate the costs of IQ loss associated with exposure to air pollution, and is based on prior research on prenatal exposure to air pollutants among low-income children by Frederica Perera, PhD, lead author of the current study, and colleagues at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health.

The researchers made their calculation using a hypothesized modest reduction of .25 nanograms per cubic meter air (ng/m3) of ambient concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), a family of chemicals created by burning fossil fuels that is ubiquitous in urban air. By way of comparison, the current estimated annual mean PAH concentration is approximately 1 ng/ m3. The analysis focused on the 63,462 New York City children born in 2002 to women on Medicaid, a group sharing the same socio-demographic characteristics as the cohort studied by Dr. Perera and colleagues linking IQ and PAH, and used methods employed in published studies estimating earnings potential related to exposures to lead and mercury. Gains in IQ related to the hypothetical 25% reduction in PAH translated to increased lifetime earnings of $215 million.

The researchers previously reported that children born to nonsmoking mothers exposed to higher levels of airborne PAH during pregnancy had IQs three points lower at age 5 than children whose mothers had lower PAH exposures. The IQ reduction was modest but in the range of that seen with low-level lead.

The researchers say they have likely underestimated the total economic benefit associated with reduction in prenatal PAH exposure because it does not include estimates of economic gains due to broader neurotoxic, respiratory, and carcinogenic effects, all also linked with PAH. While based on children born to mothers on Medicaid in New York City, the authors say, the results likely apply to children more broadly. IQ affects academic performance and earnings.

According to Dr. Perera, "Our analysis suggests that a modest reduction in urban air pollution would provide substantial economic benefits and help children realize their full potential."

Full results are published in the Journal of Public Health Policy.


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. Frederica Perera, Katherine Weiland, Matthew Neidell, Shuang Wang. Prenatal exposure to airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and IQ: Estimated benefit of pollution reduction. Journal of Public Health Policy, 2014; DOI: 10.1057/jphp.2014.14

Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Improving air quality in NYC would boost children's future earnings by increasing IQ." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508095834.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2014, May 8). Improving air quality in NYC would boost children's future earnings by increasing IQ. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508095834.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Improving air quality in NYC would boost children's future earnings by increasing IQ." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508095834.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A dozen more bodies were found Wednesday as Japanese rescuers resumed efforts to find survivors and retrieve bodies of those trapped by Mount Ontake's eruption. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A Spanish scientist, who spent 12 days trapped about 1300 feet underground in a cave in Peru's remote Amazon region, was rescued on Tuesday. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — California is the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic bags in grocery, liquor and convenience stores. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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