Kids Living Near Major Roads at Greater Risk for Developmental Delays https://t.co/EDsT8PXdqg
The findings also show that kids born to women exposed during pregnancy to higher-than-normal levels of traffic-related pollutants — ultra-fine airborne particles and ozone — had a small but significantly higher likelihood of developmental delays during infancy and early childhood.
“Our results suggest that it may be prudent to minimize exposure to air pollution during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood — all key periods for brain development,” said senior author Pauline Mendola, Ph.D., from the the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Prior research has associated fetal exposure to common air pollutants with low birthweight, preterm birth and stillbirth. A few studies have also shown a greater risk of autism and of lower cognitive functioning in children living near highways. But overall findings of how prenatal and early childhood exposure to air pollution might affect development have been inconsistent.
Since a large proportion of the U.S. population lives close to major roadways, major sources of air pollution, the study sought to determine if living near heavily traveled roads was linked to lower scores on developmental screens; questionnaires or checklists that indicate whether a child is developing normally or needs to be referred to a specialist for further testing.