Study finds air pollution can affect child's brain before birth - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Study finds air pollution can affect child's brain before birth

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WASHINGTON. - Living in a city thick with air pollution could actually affect your child's brain before he or she is even born.

This startling finding of a new study is published in the August edition of Pediatrics.

Researchers monitored pregnant women who were non-smokers in New York.

The lead author is Frederica Perera at the Columbia University's Center for Children's Environmental Health.

"Higher exposure to air pollution prenatally was a risk factor for reduced I.Q. scores at age five," says Perera.

Each of the women carried with them or kept a small backpack. Inside was a pump which collected a sample of the air the mother was breathing.

The children were followed from in utero to 5-years-old. At that time, 249 of the kids were given an intelligence test, including scoring for verbal skills.

"The average reduction was four points. For some people it would be less, for some more," Frederica Perera said.

Perera likens the effects to those from lead exposure. 

Perera says the decreases in IQ could be meaningful in terms of overall school performance.
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