A troubling new study by the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) shows that unborn children exposed to air pollution while in the womb may suffer from lowered IQs. This information serves to add as an additional warning about the dangers of poor air quality, and highlights why improving indoor air quality is so incredibly important. As more and more is learned about the effects of air pollution, the more worrisome the information is becoming – and the more critical it is to provide the cleanest air possible for all people.
In the scientific study, pregnant women in New York City wore backpack air monitors during the last couple months of their pregnancy. These monitors kept track of the quality of the air that they breathed on a regular, day-to-day basis and were worn for approximately 48 hours. Most of the women lived in lower income areas of Lower Manhattan and the South Bronx, and their pregnancies resulted in 249 births. The children of these women were later examined and given various tests by researchers to gauge their IQ and other developmental characteristics.
From the time these children were still in utero, all the way until the age of five, they were monitored by researchers. At the age of five, they were each given the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of the Intelligence, an intelligence test that assesses performance, verbal and full scale IQ scores. The results of these tests indicated that the children whose mothers were exposed to PAHs – or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – had scores ranging between four and five points lower than the children of women who live in less polluted areas. PAHs are commonly caused by burning gas, oil, coal or diesel, and may also be caused by burning tobacco.
Since the areas where the women in the study live tend to have high levels of PAHs, it has been determined that their exposure to those chemicals and pollutants likely had something to do with their children’s lower IQ scores. This news serves as yet more evidence indicating the many dangers of air pollution. Women who live in urban areas that are more susceptible to high PAH levels are sure to be concerned about the effects that those pollutants have on their children’s health – and this study confirms those worries loud and clear.
Implications of the Study
The study conducted by CCCEH is so troubling because the tested children essentially have less chances for success in life right from the start due to the air pollution their mothers are exposed to. The women in the study were all nonsmokers, so those IQ scores were not affected by smoking mothers-to-be. Researchers compare the disparity in IQ scores to those of children who have low grade lead exposure. Obviously, PAHs and air pollution in general is a very real public health concern, and is having an impact on more than just things like asthma, allergies and other respiratory ailments.
What You Can Do
If the results of the CCCEH study worry you – as they undoubtedly do – there are things that you can do. If moving to a less polluted, urban area is not possible, there are measures that you can take that can not only provide allergy relief, sinus relief and other benefits from reduced exposure to air pollution – but that can help protect the mental functioning of your unborn child. Installing a HEPA air purifier in your home or apartment is one of the best, most proactive ways to fight off the risks of PAHs and air pollution.
By using a high quality HEPA filter based purifier in your home, you can effectively filter out the majority of airborne pollutants. Choosing an air purifier that also has an activated carbon filter can further reduce or eliminate gases, chemicals and VOCs from the air that you and your family breathe. Keeping an air purifier in your home can significantly reduce your unborn child’s exposure to pollution that can affect his or her mental functioning – and can help give them the best start in life possible.
Buy a HEPA Air Purifier Today
At Clean Air Plus, studies like the one conducted by CCCEH make us that much more concerned about indoor air quality – and that much happier to provide the high quality HEPA air purifiers that we do. Clean Air Plus is dedicated to helping you live more healthfully by providing the cleanest indoor air possible.
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